Van Gogh was a nineteenth-century painter and draughtsman. He was part of the naturalism movement and was inspired by pointillism, impressionism, expressionism and fauvism. However, despite the number and authenticity of his works, he is the only artist who became successful after his death. This is why he is nowadays known as the ‘cursed painter’.
Who is van Gogh?
Van Gogh, whose full name is Vincent Van Gogh, was a Dutch artist born in Groot-Zundert, the Netherlands, on 30 March 1853. He wanted to make a career at Goupil & Cie as an art dealer, but was dismissed. After his dismissal, he thought of becoming a pastor, but without success. When he turned 27, he turned to painting. He left his native country for Belgium and then moved to France. Once settled, he took drawing and painting courses. He became a passionate art lover and never stopped learning about painting culture while analysing the work of painters of his time. He increased his knowledge by visiting museums and art galleries and exchanging ideas with his painter friends. Sadly, he committed suicide on 29 July 1890, at the age of 37, due to his seizures and mental instability.
Why is he called ‘the cursed painter’?
Van Gogh started painting in the 1880s. For his very first painting, he took as his model the peasants of his country and was inspired by the painter Jean-François Millet. Exhausted by his economic problems and fragile physical and mental health, he joined his brother Theo in Paris in 1886. His brother, being an art dealer, introduced him to Impressionist painting and enabled him to meet Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Gauguin. His brother, being an art dealer, introduced him to impressionist painting and enabled him to meet Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Gauguin. Alas, the cohabitation turned into a disaster from which he tried to assault his idol before cutting his earlobe with a razor. He was then committed to a nursing home before his brother found him a refuge with Dr Paul Gachet, a painting enthusiast. Overcome by despair, he shot himself in the stomach in the middle of a field on 27 July 1890. After suffering two days of agony, he died on 30 July 1890. Having sold only one painting during his lifetime and because of the tragic events in his life, he became known as the “cursed painter”.
Van Gogh drew more than 2,000 works of paintings and drawings. His works were influenced by his painter friends, Émile Bernard, Anthon van Rappard and Paul Gauguin. He was inspired by the work of several artists such as Claude Monet, Paul Signac, Paul Cézanne, Adolphe Monticelli, Hiroshige and Edgar Degas. He sold only one painting in his lifetime and was not successful until 1930, 40 years after his death.