The famous museum of Van Gogh since its opening in 1973 has acquired a great worldwide fame. Over the past 33 years, millions of tourists from all over the world visited the museum. Exhibited in the museum paintings, drawings and photographs provide an opportunity to observe the formation of the great artist’s work in stages. In addition, the museum contains more than 700 letters written by the artist personally to his brother Theo. However, the history of the formation of this collection and what she had to go through is very surprising.
Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853 in Holland, in the family of a pastor of the Dutch Protestant Church.
Whoever he was in his life. He worked in the company selling art, and the teacher, and the parish priest, and, finally, the artist.
The great Dutch painter has traveled a lot in his life. One of the first cities that visited Van Gogh was London, where he was sent to work. Vincent was simply fascinated by England. Living here, he visited a lot of art galleries and museums. He really liked the engravings of English masters, they inspired him and influenced his further work.
Returning to Holland two years later, at Christmas, he chose to stay there. Here he becomes a parish priest for coal miners and their families in the mining village of Vasks. Vincent was attached to the miners, he sympathized with them in their hard work and, as a spiritual mentor, tried his best to ease their hard life. Vincent began to give most of his food and clothes to the most suffering of his charges. Such an act was not approved by the church, and Van Gogh was removed from office, but remained in that village in complete poverty.
Vincent once wanted to visit the house of his beloved French painter Jules Breton, and, having only 10 francs in his pocket, he walked all 70 kilometers to Courrieres (France) to see Breton. However, upon arrival, Vincent did not dare to knock on the artist at the door and, depressed, returned home.
This was the time when Vincent began to paint miners and their families, capturing the terrible conditions in which they lived, and the very time when Vincent Van Gogh finally realized his vocation – to be an artist.
After spending a year in poverty, Vincent goes to Brussels to start studying painting. His brother Theo helped him with the money. Vincent and Theo have always been close in childhood, and, being already adults, have been in constant correspondence all their lives. It is their letters that are now kept in the Van Gogh Museum.
Vincent van Gogh met his civil wife Clasina Maria Hurnik at the end of February 1882 in The Hague. At that time she wore her second child under her heart. Soon this woman, better known as Sin, moved to Vincent. They lived together for the next year and a half. Letters to Theo show that Vincent was attached to Sin, and especially to her children, but art was always in the first place for him. Shin and her children posed for dozens of works by Vincent, and during this period he grew significantly as an artist. In the painting “Sin, sitting in a basket, with a girl” Vincent masterfully conveyed a quiet family comfort.
In 1883, Van Gogh began to experiment with oil paints. Soon he parted with Sin. Vincent is experiencing personal tragedy alone. For the next six weeks, Van Gogh led a nomadic life, moving around the area and painting landscapes and portraits of local people.
Later, after returning to the parental home, he continues to improve in drawing. During this period he painted pictures in dozens. Basically, these are portraits of spinners and weavers. But most of all Vincent liked to draw local peasants.
Soon the artist moved to Paris, where he met with impressionism. Vincent for the next two years becomes a neighbor of his brother Theo, who also lived at that time in Paris.
Thanks to Theo, Vincent meets new Parisian artists.Vincent attended the early exhibitions of the Impressionists, where Degas, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro were exhibited. There is no doubt that Van Gogh’s work was influenced by the methods of impressionists, but he always remained true to his unique style. Drawing the neighborhood of Paris, he departs in his palette from the dark, traditional colors of the Dutch homeland and begins to use the quivering colors of the Impressionists.
In Paris, Vincent began to show interest in the art of Japan. Japanese art, just after centuries of seclusion, began to spread across Europe, and the Western world was crazy about it. Van Gogh began to acquire a significant amount of Japanese wood engravings, and his works during this period (for example, “Portrait of Papa Tangi”) are, as under the impressionistic, and under Japanese influence. Japanese influence will be traced in his work throughout his life.
Van Gogh, tired of the long dark winter months of Paris, moves to Arles. He is looking for sun and heat in Provence, but does not find it. Soon, he has a first attack of mental distress. He, being in a state of insanity, cut off the lower part of his left ear, after which he was placed in a hospital in Arles. Later, attacks of mental illness are increasingly tormented by the artist. During the next attack, he imagined that he had been poisoned.
Van Gogh spent a long time in the hospital, where he was allowed to go out into the countryside and draw. It was a productive period in the life of Van Gogh. He depicts blooming gardens in the vicinity of Arles.
Vincent then goes to a psychiatric clinic in Saint-Remy-de-Provence.
Here he is observed by Dr. Peyron, who proclaims the diagnosis – the patient is sick with one of the varieties of epilepsy. This diagnosis is currently official.
Relatively calm state of mental health, however, did not last long, and in mid-July, Van Gogh has another seizure. This time he tried to swallow his own colors, and as a result he was denied access to the materials. A week later, however, Dr. Peyron softened and allowed Vincent to resume drawing. As soon as he began to create again, his mental state improved.
Theo helped organize exhibitions of his paintings, in particular, he organized an exhibition in Brussels. Vincent was inspired by this event and worked very hard and diligently.
After another episode of mental illness, Van Gogh, devastated by pain, is no longer drawing himself, but is copying the works of other artists.
July 27, 1890, Vincent Van Gogh took an easel and material for drawing, and went to the field. There he pulled a revolver and shot himself in the chest. Staggering, he made his way to the boarding house and went to bed, where he was discovered by the owner, who called the doctors Maseri and Gachet. An urgent letter was sent to Theo, and he arrived the next morning.
It was Theo who held his brother’s hand when he uttered his last words: “I would like to go like this.” Vincent Van Gogh passed away on the night of July 29, 1890. The funeral took place in the village of Mary on July 30. Theo Van Gogh survived his brother for only six months. He was buried in Utrech, but in 1914, Theo’s wife, Joanna, a hot fan of Van Gogh’s works, reburied Theo’s body next to Vincent at the cemetery in Over. Johanna asked that between the graves planted a twig of ivy from the garden of Dr. Gachet. This most ivy still covers the carpet of the grave of Vincent and Theo.
It so happened that during his lifetime, the artist’s paintings were not popular, and he died almost in poverty. But the fact that Van Gogh became famous, we owe everything to the same Joanne.
After the death of Van Gogh, his brother Theo set a solid goal for the whole world to recognize the great artist. His whole house was full of works of the creator, there were more than two hundred of them. Theo negotiated with people, arranged exhibitions of paintings. But, unfortunately, Theo died, never realizing his dream. And then the baton was picked up by his wife, Joanna.The rest of the artist’s relatives at the same time sighed with relief. They did not show interest in the paintings, and were happy to abandon them in favor of Joanna and her young son Vincent.
At that time, more than two hundred works of the artist were almost worthless. Joanna sought the organization of exhibitions of paintings by the artist, it was she who achieved the publication of his letters, thanks to which people had the opportunity to learn more about this man. Joanna had an amazing strength of mind, ready to step over any barriers to achieve her goal.
By the time of her death, in 1925, Van Gogh was already the most popular artist. However, her son, who inherited the collection of paintings, did not feel very enthusiastic and did not want to make a name for him on his uncle’s celebrity – he became an engineer.
In 1950, the idea arose to create a special museum of paintings by Van Gogh. The state purchases from the heir a collection of paintings by the artist in 1962, and in 1969 she was placed in the Van Gogh Museum, which was officially opened on June 2, 1973.