Strange and Interesting Fact About Vincent Van Gogh

The Dutch painter Vincent Van-Gogh is one of the most famous painters the world has ever seen, and his paintings, at least those not included in private collections, reach record prices in art auctions. So from today’s perspective, it is curious to grasp the fact that Van Gogh did not enjoy the reputation he holds now when he was alive. Far from it. 

How Many Paintings Did Vincent Van Gogh Sell in His Lifetime

The following can help us give a better understanding of how Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork was viewed during his lifetime. Here is some insight into what shaped Vincent van Gogh’s personality and inspired his work.

How Many Paintings Did Vincent Van Gogh Sell in His Lifetime?

Ironically, he was not successful professionally when alive. So did Van Gogh sell any paintings during his lifetime? Technically, yes, but the exact number of paintings sold may be shocking: he managed to sell only one painting during his lifetime, for meager 400 francs, seven months before his death. 

Most of the paintings by Van Gogh are now lost, since many of the initial buyers thought that they did not have any commercial or artistic value. Even Van Gogh’s own mother Anna herself had allegedly disposed of multiple crates filled with his paintings.

What Is Vincent Van Gogh’s Full Name?

The Dutch painter Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853, at Groot-Zundert in the Netherlands. Although most people pronounce the last name as Van Go, the correct pronunciation is Van Gokh. 

Early Life

His mother Anna Cornelia-Carbentus was an artist, while his father Theodorus van Gogh was a minister.

While he was named after his paternal grandfather, Van Gogh’s first name was also used for his elder brother, his parents’ first son, who died at birth a year before Vincent was born. It is very likely than Van Gogh may have seen the tombstone of his dead brother with his own name.

Van Gogh was the eldest child in his family, which included six children. His main and sometimes only supporter, who took it upon himself to promote his artwork was his brother Theo, who became an art dealer.

When Did Van Gogh Start Painting?

Initially, Van Gogh was interested in following the footsteps of his father and becoming a minister. For a period of nearly a year, he studied to prepare himself for the entrance exam to Amsterdam’s School of Theology. Since he considered Latin to be a dead language for most people, especially peasants, he refused to answer the Latin part of the entrance exam. Due to this refusal to answer in Latin he could not get admission to the Theology school. 

For some time, Van Gogh worked in Belgium’s main coal mining area as a missionary. Due to the spiritual awakening he experienced during this period, he relinquished everything he owned and lived like a pauper. The church authorities felt that his conduct of renouncing everything was not appropriate for its employees and he was removed from his position as a church missionary. 

Van Gogh only received formal training in painting and artwork for approximately for four months, only a few years before his death. He was mainly a self-taught artist.

Compared to other painters, Van Gogh started painting late, when he was in his late twenties. Before he began painting, he worked in the Hague for his uncle who had a company dealing in artwork, and later in London for Groupil Gallery.

Since he had an intuitive and spontaneous painting style, he was able to complete his paintings faster than other painters, which surprised some of the people who watched him paint. He told his brother Theo that if anyone commented on the speed of his painting, he should tell them that they have looked at the painting too quickly.

Although Van Gogh suffered from some mental health problems all his life, his mental illness worsened greatly in the late 1880s. It is rumored that he occasionally drank turpentine and ate his paints during this period.

When Theo van Gogh heard about the worsening mental health of his elder brother Vincent, he paid Paul Gauguin, another renowned painter, to relocate to Arles, France, so that he could keep an eye on Vincent and make sure he was all right. However, within a few weeks, the artists were always arguing with each other, and found it difficult to tolerate being together in the same house. 

Vincent Van Gogh’s Personality

People who knew Van Gogh said that he had a strong personality, and it was difficult to get along with him. Colleagues and friends felt that he was likely to make himself a martyr. His tendency to argue with others adversely affected his relationship with other painters and he had few friends. 

What Is Vincent Van Gogh Known For?

Starry Night, which is widely considered to be one of the most famous works of Van Gogh, was completed when the artist was staying at an asylum in Saint Remy-de-Provence, to help recover from a nervous breakdown he suffered from. 

Why Did Van Gogh Cut His Ear Off?

The story of Van Gogh cutting off his left ear is one of the most popular anecdotes of his life. In reality he only cut off the lobe of his left ear. Allegedly, Van Gogh became absolutely infuriated during an argument with his friend and fellow painter Gauguin that he got hold of a razor and cut a piece of his own ear. Rumor had it that he then took the earlobe to the local brothel and he offered the earlobe to a prostitute as a gift.

After he cut his earlobe off, Van Gogh was admitted to a hospital in the vicinity to recover from the blood loss. Though he was discharged from the hospital after recovery he became very depressed. To help him deal with depression, the staff allowed him to paint during the day, and rest at night.

In the last few years of his life, the citizens of Arles signed a petition that he was a danger to the community in the town. Van Gogh was then committed to an asylum.

How Did Van Gogh Die?

Ultimately, Van Gogh committed suicide by shooting himself in 1890. However he did not shoot himself in the chest properly, so he did not die immediately, but within thirty hours of firing the shot.

Theo died the following year, only a few months after his brother’s death, and was initially buried in Utrecht. To honor the extremely close relationship between the Van Gogh brothers, Theo’s wife Johanna requested exhumation of her dead husband, and then had him reburied in Auvers next to her brother-in-law.

How Did Van Gogh Become Famous?

Many experts believe that the main reason why Van Gogh was famous and successful after his death was his brother Theo’s wife Johanna, who dedicated herself to promoting his art and the painter, after both Vincent and his brother Theo had died.