Most people know Vincent Van Gogh cut his ear off. But most may NOT know he shot himself at just
age 37. Thirty-seven years of poverty and wanderlust,
with a reputation for failure. He died 2 days later, but left behind, some of the most influential artistic works of his generation. But he also left behind a stunning visual
record of his wanderings. As a teenager, Van Gogh worked at this art dealership in the Hague, and he drew the beauty around him. He was transferred to the Paris branch in
1875, but he got fired. Officially, it was for disappearing over Christmas for an unannounced vacation. He taught at this boys school in Ramsgate, England in 1876, but he quit to pursue his religious fervor and teach Sunday school. He wandered through the Netherlands and Belgium, for some years, jumping from job to job. He painted the miners in this Belgian town
while pursuing a career as a preacher. It wasn’t until 1880, when he was 27 that
he embraced being an artist, evidenced by numerous sketches and in letters to his brother. By 1886, in Paris, you can see his skills
flourish, influenced by the impressionism and post-impressionism movements in France and its notable artists. He was the romanticised idea of a struggling starving artist. But he managed to befriend many artists of the time including Gauguin. You can see their influences on each other here. In 1888, Gauguin stayed with Van Gogh in the infamous Yellow House. It was during these tumultuous years, 1888 through 1890, that he made all those cool paintings you’ve likely seen already. But his talent still wasn’t recognized. He gave a portrait away to its subject during his last year in France. The subject used it to repair a chicken coop,
then gave it away. He finally entered an asylum in Saint Rémy during May 1889, and continued to paint his surroundings. He made his last move to Auvers-sur-Oise in May of 1890. Van Gogh’s life was short and painful, and
he probably thought of himself as a failure. But he wasn’t. Though his life took a winding path, you can see him going straight towards what he did better than anybody else in the world could do.