User talk:W./Van Gogh by date and location

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This is going to be a new compilation of Van Gogh material which already exists on COM, amended by samples of Van Gogh's draftsmanship and designed as a multilingual version which might be worth while to be looked up. The article was inspired by the 2008 exhibition at Vienna's Albertina which, gathering but ~150 pieces (and being the second largest Van Gogh show ever), gave an enlightening insight into the multiple interferences of drawing and painting in the artist's oeuvre, and over his whole working period.[1]

To start the process, I copy+pasted the galeries from COM's Van Gogh Article. Thisone however has following shortcomings:

  • "Stuff" is added to the descriptions, like uselessly linked data and explanations which ought to be within the file description rather than blowing up a gallery.
  • Dimensions and date of the pieces are sometimes given redundantly, more often however not at all.
  • Multilinguality in galleries creates problems which seem to have waited for years to be solved.
  • Please do not edit this subpage. You'd be more than welcome to comment my efforts on my talk page, or wherever. Category talk:Vincent van Gogh might be a most appropriate place. Wolfgang 09:10, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Early period[edit]

"How can one learn to draw if nobody shows one how?"

When Van Gogh definitely decided to become an artist in 1880, he first stayed in Belgium, trying to find instruction and meanwhile teaching himself, mostly by using the three volume Cours de dessin by en:Charles Bargue, which was also used at academies, and copying from prints (Van Gogh's drawn version of The Sower (F 830, April 1881), an engraving by Paul-Edmé Le Rat after the oil by Millet, is the renowned example of this period. By the end of October 1889, when staying in Saint-Rémy, he would create oils of same sujet.).

The first three years Van Gogh largely spent on drawing. He had already worked towards this when staying in the Borinage mining region, and he continued drawing after it was clear that he would not be allowed to continue in the evangelisation (1879). He stayed in the region until approximately July 1880. According to accounts of contemporarys, he made sketches of miners and their environment, without achieving impressive results (see Miners in the Snow. He later destroyed almost all of them.[2]


After his brother Theo had influenced Vincent to embark for a career as an illustrator and had started to support him financially, he recommended him to gallerists and artists for more advice. This however was difficult for the addressed persons, as the Van Gogh family had great reputation in the art business: Three of Vincent's uncles had been managers for internationally acting Goupil&Cie. art traders (one of them, uncle "Cor" or "C. M." (Cornelis Marinus van Gogh), still running Goupil's Amsterdam branch at that time), and Theo was in same enterprise and was considered to be an important contact to the French art trade. Nobody wanted to take any risk of offending one of them, although very probably taken aback by the examples which Vincent must have shown, and nobody liked to take position due to the 'diffcult' relationship between Vincent and his family.

The art dealer Tobias Schmidt, whom Vincent contacted in Brussels to be put in touch with young artists, just advised him to enrol at the academy — which was just what Vincent did not want to do: Beginners at the academy would not have been allowed to work on life models for years. After established painter Willem Roelofs had given same advice, Vincent wrote to his brother "[...] I felt obliged to try to get admitted to the said academy, though I do not think it so pleasant." (138, 1 November 1880). Van Gogh finally enrolled, but it is not known whether he ever attended the course.[3]

Young painter en:Anthon van Rappard, to whom Vincent was recommended by Theo as well, seems to have been repellent at first. In same letter 138 Vincent writes "But judging from the way he lives, he must be wealthy, and I do not know whether he is the person with whom I might live and work, for financial reasons"., and, earlier, in 136: "[...] it seemed to me that he did not like to be disturbed. As long as I am not more advanced, I must avoid young artists, who do not always reflect on what they do or say. And yet I long very much to find one who, being more advanced than I, could help me progress." The contact to Van Rappard however improved soon, and Vincent was allowed to work in Rappard's studio under his advice, for several weeks, until Van Rappard announced to leave Brussels. There still was contact for the next four years, by letters and Van Rappard's visit in Etten.

Before joining Van Rappard, Van Gogh had a few first lessons by "an established artist" in February 1881 (he did not mention the name, but it is believed by Adriaan Johannes Madiol who desperately needed money because of the large family he had to support).[4]

Teersteeg, the manager of Goupil's The Hague branch, who had excellent reputation in the Van Gogh family and who eventually lent Vincent the Bargue volumes (edited by Goupil) after being begged for it four times, one year later became a difficult adversary of Vincent, by declaring his works "unsalable".

In late April 1881, Van Gogh moved in with his parents at Etten again, after twelve years, this being the cheapest solution. Until mid summer he did a lot of drawing, most in pencil, but working the sheets out with pen, sometimes reed pen, and ink.[5]His progress in landscape drawing can be seen by comparing F_874v (spring 1881) to any of his landscapes done later in same year.

Although he drew from life models at that time (his little sister Willemien and one or more of her friends sat for him) he must have had difficulties with that, as he again copied from Bargue in early August, particulary nudes from the section exercices au fusain (148).

At the end of August, Van Gogh visited Brussels to see the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij exhibition and to meet Teersteeg, en:Théophile de Bock and his cousin-in-law Category:Anton Mauve. Tersteeg, when seeing Van Gogh's latest copies from Bargue, admitted "he had made progress". But the major meeting during this trip was with Mauve: "[...] he gave me a great many hints which I was glad to get, and I have arranged to come back to see him in a realtively short time when I have some new studies." (149, 28 August 1881).

Mauve was also the one to send Vincent a fully-stocked painter's box, by mid October, to get him painting in oils, and announced that he would visit him in Etten (which did not happen, due to Mauve's illness). It seems that Van Gogh did not even dare to try out the new medium in the absence of Mauve. "And when Mauve is here, I go where Mauve goes." he wrote to Van Rappard on 12 October 1881 (R2).

By the end of November, Van Gogh went to join Mauve in The Hague and had lessons from him during an approximately three weeks time. Mauve assured him that he would be able to do small watercolours "within a relatively short time" -- such were supposed to be saleable. Unfortunately, the genius' talents were not in such watercolours at all. Unless being guided by Mauve, in his studio, Van Gogh did not produce any (see F_870, F_869: those met the requirements a watercolour had to meet at that time, but they were not what Van Gogh was going to do, and are unequalled in his oeuvre).

When Van Gogh returned to Etten shortly before Christmas time, he took with him a few watercolours and a few studies in oil which he considered to be "a beginning" (164, 24 December 1881).


1881–1883, Brussels and Etten[edit]

1882–1883, Den Haag[edit]

1883, Drente[edit]

1884–1885, Nuenen[edit]

1886–1888, Paris[edit]

In 1886, he went to Paris to stay with his brother, and he met Pissarro, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Seurat, Bernard. He had to realise that his dark "Dutch" palette was awfully outdated and he began to try several styles of the impressionists. He is reported to be "difficult", and his health was not the best. He decided to go south to Arles, hoping that some of his friends would join him and create a common project, atelier du midi. Only Gaugin stayed there for a while, others came just for short visits.

1888–1889, Arles[edit]

1889–1890, Saint-Rémy[edit]

1890, Auvers-sur-Oise[edit]




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Notes[edit]

  1. Notes like a123 will refer to the book which was written for the exhibition and which is also its catalogue. A#003 refers catalogue item #3.
    • Heartfelt Lines, en-ISBNs 978-3-8321-9133-7 and 978-3-8321-9158-0 (cheaper museum edition); some 450 pages on 140 exposed items, and at least 150 more, because quite many of the items desirable for the exhibition were not lent by their owners. It is edited by Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Heinz Widauer (both: Albertina), Sjaar van Heugten and Marije Vellekoop (VGM), with articles by Teio Meedendorp (Kröller-Müller), Fred Leeman and Martin Bailey. It publishes most recent research data on the Van Gogh Museum's items which otherwise would not be published before 2009.
    • Gezeichnete Bilder is the German version, de-ISBNs 978-3-8321-9125-2.
  2. Letter 553b to Eugène Boch, footnote 3 on a31.
  3. De Bodt 1995, p.278, notes that he was registered as 8488 for dessin d'après l'antique, torse et fragments. a31
  4. a22f, a31: A Madiol painting titled "The Artist and His Family in the Studio", dated 1878 and kept by Groningen Museum, shows on the artist's easel the sketch of a peasant woman pealing potatoes. Later, Vincent would especially recommend Madiol to Theo.
  5. When talking about the great reed pen drawings he did in Arles and Saint-Rémy, later, he would note that the reeds available in Etten were of low quality and he therefore hadn't used them intensively.