Vincent Willem Van Gogh I
Program InformationSeries: A Moment in Time
Year Produced: 2008
Although he sold only one painting in his lifetime, today Dutch painter, teacher, bookseller, preacher, Vincent Willem Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest practitioners of modern art.
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Lead: Although he sold only one painting in his lifetime, today Dutch painter, teacher, bookseller, preacher, Vincent Willem Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest practitioners of modern art.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: Van Gogh was born in 1853 in Groot—Zundert, a small village in the southern Netherlands near the Belgian border. The oldest son of a Protestant minister, young van Gogh was moody, quiet, introverted, but he grew up with a love of nature and the arts. Van Gogh attended school as a young boy, but at the age of sixteen he left home for the Hague to work as an apprentice to an uncle, a dealer at Goupil and Co., an international art firm. Van Gogh subsequently worked for the firm in London and Paris; he admired the Dutch masters but was particularly influenced by French Realist painters, Camille Corot and Jean-Francois Millet.
Van Gogh did not particularly care for art dealing. He became restless and tried his hand at various occupations – teacher, bookseller and even worked as an evangelical preacher in an impoverished coal mining district in Southwestern Belgium. He stripped himself of nearly all that he owned, but in the end was dismissed by church authorities for overzealousness. Van Gogh, in deep despair, began to draw. With encouragement from his brother, Theo, who supported the artist both financially and emotionally through the rest of his life, van Gogh turned to the life of an artiste. This began a tumultuous ten-year art career which ended tragically, but in the years following his suicide he would come to be recognized as the greatest Dutch painter, second only to Rembrandt himself. His love of nature and deep empathy for ordinary people, country peasants and the poor inspired his work. Next Time: The Potato Eaters.
Research assistance by Ann Johnson, at the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.