US 395 TimelineFrom a Path to a Highway
01 Jan 1850
Light Bio – Vincent Van Gogh
Intro to Vincent in Paris and Vincent Van Gogh Vincent’s life was a short 37 years with only the last 10 being occupied with the pursuit of art. In those 10 years of effort, he created nearly 1000 paintings and as many drawings and sketches. His canvases, though highly prized now, were not received well by critics nor fellow artists until the last months of his difficult life. He was a loner and a bit outcast as a schoolboy and grew up a pious young man in the house of the town vicar, his father. He had seven brothers and sisters, some of whom were afflicted with mental illness as was he in later years. He had a close bond and partnership with his younger brother by 5 years, Theo, who became an art dealer in the family business and beyond. Theo Van Gogh did as much as anyone at the time to support the impressionist artists’ break from the realism popular in the salons of Paris in the 1880s and Theo supported Vincent and Paul Gauguin when they broke even farther away. The story of Vincent’s short and passionate life is a fascinating one of a misunderstood and highly principled genius of color who put himself in an asylum for a time but rarely stopped producing brilliant pieces in a prolific manner. Vincent’s life is one of a pilgrim on a long and difficult journey to a meeting with his Lord, a metaphor which struck him early and perhaps stayed with him in spirit through his final canvas. The goal of Vincent in Paris is to provide an application for a tablet, desktop or smart phone which allow for a user or patron to easily access several different avenues of information swiftly and easily, specific to any piece of art Vincent created. We seek to provide an informational and visual context into which the work of art fits whenever that information is available, and photographs or quotes when possible. We seek to allow the patron to stand in the footprints of where Vincent painted each of his hundreds of landscapes by building you a mobile map to take you there. We hope to round out and deepen a painting by providing you what was going in Vincent’s life at the time or what was happening right then with the impressionists and pointillists and the bubbling Parisian art scene. And, finally, we hope to show how Vincent saw things as well as how things have changed in the 130 years since and give you, our patron, a place to contribute your thoughts and images about all of this. Our goal is to deepen the experience of viewing a piece of art through greater understanding of the man and the mind who created it and the feel of the environment in which it was created… An overview of Vincent’s life Vincent was born in Zundert, Holland (The Netherlands) in 1853, the first surviving child of Theodorus and Anna […]
April 21, 1851
March 30, 1852
March 30, 1853
17 May 1867
1867 Tilburg School, Netherlands
Vincent’s youngest brother, Cornelius is born on May 17 in 1867 while Vincent is away at boarding school in Tilburg. He is learning to draw under Huysmans. Vincent is pictured in this school photo – he is on the lowest bench and third from the right with arms folded.
19 Mar 1868
March 19 1868 – Vincent walks out of boarding school
Vincent leaves Tilburg in a bit of disgrace, especially felt by his parents when he gets back home after a 7 hour walk to Zundert. He will live at home for the next 16 months, in a discomforting family setting, before he will take a job in The Hague arranged by his uncle ‘Cent (Vincent), a partner at the powerful art firm of Goupil and Cie. Tilburg to Zundert, Netherlands
30 Jul 1869
July 30, 1869 – Vincent becomes a junior apprentice at Goupil & Cie
Vincent is appointed junior apprentice at Goupil & Cie in late July at Plaats 14 in The Hague. His superior is H.G. Tersteeg. Lodges with Willem and Dina Roos at Lange Beestenmarkt 32. Vincent’s uncle ‘Cent is a partner at Goupil and Cie and has offered to help the troubled son of his brother with a job in The Hague. Goupil and Cie also have offices in London and Paris and in a few years, Theo, Vincent’s younger brother will eclipse his footsteps and become an early dealer and ardent supporter of impressionist and post impressionist art. Vincent starts collecting photographs, photo-engravings and prints sold by Goupil, mostly traditional northern palettes of blended browns and Barbizon school art at this time in Goupil’s catalogue. van gogh museum link
29 Jan 1871
January 29, 1871 – Vincent parents move from Zundert to Helvoirt
29 January The Van Gogh family moves from Zundert to Helvoirt, where the Reverend Van Gogh has been called to lead the parish. They live at Torenstraat 47. Theo attends secondary school in Oisterwijk until the end of 1872. Vincent has been working under the tutelage of H. G. Tersteeg for the past 18 months. Tersteeg is pictured in an 1885 photograph. map zundert to helvoirt
30 Aug 1872
Fall of 1872 – Vincent working in the Hague, Theo visits
29 September Vincent’s (surviving) correspondence with Theo begins. Theo has just stayed with Vincent for a few days in The Hague and unknowingly sees his brother at work in the job he will have in a few years. October Vincent visits the auction of books which took place from 21 to 29 October 1872 at the premises of W.P. van Stockum. Mid-August – mid-October Vincent visits the Salon in Brussels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Société_Libre_des_Beaux-Arts The Société Libre des Beaux-Arts (“Free Society of Fine Arts”) was an organization formed in 1868 by Belgian artists to react against academicism and to advance Realist painting and artistic freedom. Based in Brussels, the society was active until 1876, by which time the aesthetic values it espoused had infiltrated the official Salon. It played a formative role in establishing avant-gardism in Belgium. The first exhibition of the Free Society was held in 1868 to provide an alternative art space beyond the Salon. Three exhibitions were held in 1872. The society’s manifesto was written by Camille Van Camp (nl) and published 31 January 1869. It promoted the “free and individual interpretation of nature” characteristic of Realist art, along with avant-garde concepts such as “struggle, change, freedom, progress, originality and tolerance.” The society published the periodicals L’Art Libre, a bi-monthly review (1871–72), and L’Art Universel (1873–76). In the first issue of L’Art Libre, they collectively asserted: “Artistic independence must be spawned by force. It is our desire that art be free. The art of our time must return to man and nature.” The goals of the Free Society were influenced by aesthetic ideals set forth by Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon artists and by the poet Charles Baudelaire. “Modernity” and “sincerity” were keywords. Official cultural critics were at first openly hostile. Two early champions, however, were the critics Camille Lemonnier, a member, who urged that they should “be of their own time,” and Théo Hannon (1851-1916), who saw them as rebels against artificiality. December Spends Christmas in Helvoirt.
12 May 1873
May, 1873 – Vincent transferred to London branch of Goupil and Cie, visits Paris on the way
6 January Theo takes a job with Goupil & Cie in Brussels, 58 rue Montagne de la Cour (FR b1896); he lodges with the Reverend Hendrik van den Brink, 5 place Sainte-Cathérine (FR b2594). 26-27 January Vincent visits Uncle Cor, the art dealer Cornelis Marinus van Gogh, in Amsterdam. Views his collection of paintings and drawings, and goes to museums, among them the Trippenhuis (4). 15 February Drafted for military service; the Reverend Van Gogh finds a replacement for him (FR b2604). 2 March Sees the Dutch contribution to the upcoming World Exhibition in Vienna at the artists’ society Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam (5). 13 April Spends Easter at home in Helvoirt. Theo is also there (FR b2616-b2617). May Visits the artist J.H. Weissenbruch in his studio in The Hague (125). 12 May Leaves Helvoirt for Paris (FR b2626), where he stays for several days before his transfer to Goupil’s London branch. Visits the Goupil galleries, the Salon, the Louvre and the Musée du Luxembourg (9). About 19 May Starts work at Goupil & Co. in London, 17 Southampton Street, The Strand. His superior is Charles Obach. Finds lodgings in a London suburb, address unknown (9). During his stay in London he visits the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection and the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) (131, 361, 453). Reads poetry by Keats, Musées de la Hollande by Thoré-Bürger and Cromwell by Lamartine (12, 15, 119). Early June Theo moves to the Goupil & Cie building at 58 rue Montagne de la Cour, where he lodges with his superior, Tobias Schmidt (9, FR b2632). August Visits the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (12, 13). End of August Moves to 87 Hackford Road, Brixton, where he lodges with Ursula Loyer and her daughter Eugenie (13). 12 September Views work by Belgian artists at the London International Exhibition (13). Autumn Reads Michelet’s L’amour (14). October Re-reads the poems of Longfellow (14). 12 November Theo is transferred to Goupil’s branch in The Hague, at Plaats 14. He lodges with the Roos family at Lange Beestenmarkt 32, as Vincent had done before him (16, FR b2674).
26 Oct 1874
October 1874 – Vincent transferred to Goupil headquarters in Paris
First half of June Vincent visits the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (23). 27 June-14 July Stays in Helvoirt and spends a few days with Theo in The Hague (23, 25, FR b2709-b2710). His sister Anna travels back to London with him and also lodges with the Loyers. Shortly after 10 August He and Anna go to live with John Parker and his family at 395 Kennington Road in South London (28, FR b2715). 24 August Anna moves to Welwyn to take up a position as a teacher (FR b2715). 26 October Vincent is temporarily transferred to Goupil’s headquarters in Paris, 9 rue Chaptal (FR b2728). End of December Spends Christmas in Helvoirt, as does Theo (89, FR b2737).
01 Jan 1875
15 May 1875
May, 1875 – Vincent transferred back to Goupil headquarters in Paris
Le Salon carré du Louvre huile sur toile, 1875 par K. Lucjan Przepiorski, (Vilna 1830 ou 1832 – Paris (?) après 1898)- Exposition Proust, l’écriture et les arts, musée d’Orsay, Paris 1999. – Paris, musée du Louvre, R.F. 1960-4 Mid-May Is transferred back to Goupil’s headquarters in Paris. Lives in a small room in Montmartre, address unknown. Visits the Salon. 30 May Visits the Corot retrospective at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. During his stay in the French capital, he frequents the Louvre and the Musée du Luxembourg. Is in touch with the Dutch artist Matthijs Maris, who is also living in Paris. He puts together a scrapbook for Maris, with poems by Uhland, Heine and Goethe, and fairytales by Andersen in verse. 11 or 12 June Admires drawings and pastels by Millet from the Gavet Collection at the sale exhibition held at the Hôtel Drouot (36). 25 July Spends the day in Ville-d’Avray, where he see murals by Corot in the village church (40). Autumn Befriends Harry Gladwell, a fellow lodger who also works for Goupil. 18 October The Van Gogh family moves to Etten, where the Reverend Van Gogh has been called. They live at Roosendaalseweg 4 (FR b2366). 24 December-3 January Spends Christmas and New Year in Etten. Theo is also there (62, FR b2385, b2224).
01 Jan 1876
January, 1876 – Vincent given 90 days notice of dismissal from Goupil
4 January On his return to Paris learns that Goupil is dismissing him as from 1 April (65, FR b2227). Mid-January Reads George Eliot’s Felix Holt, the radical (66). February Reads Eliot’s Scenes of clerical life(70). April – Moves back home to Etten for two weeks
14 Apr 1876
April, 1876 – Moves to Ramsgate, England to teach at Stoke’s boarding school for boys
The featured sketch was drawn by Vincent during the two months he lived in Ramsgate in early 1876. After being given his notice by Goupil, Vincent, now 23 years old, begins searching in the jobs listings advertised in the English newspapers. He receives word back from schoolteacher William Stokes that he can begin on a probationary basis without pay. The school is in Ramsgate, a port town on the eastern coast of England. Vincent begins on April 16th and teaches French and Mathematics to boys between 10 and 14 who are from the rough streets of London. He also lives with the boys in their rather run down dwelling and cares for their needs at night and takes them for walks and talks around town the countryside. Within two months of Vincent’s hire, Stokes will decide to move the school to Isleworth and Vincent will move as well. 1-14 April Is in Etten. Theo joins him there on 8 April (74, FR b956). 14 April Leaves for Ramsgate to take up a position as an assistant teacher at William Stokes’s boarding school for boys. Lodges at 11 Spencer Square, Ramsgate, UK.
25 Jun 1876
June, 1876 – Moves to Isleworth outside of London to teach new Stokes school run by Thomas Slade-Jones
In the week of June 12, 1876, a 23 year old Vincent walks from Ramsgate to London and then visits his sister in Welwyn, Hertfordshire just north of London. In the last week of June he moves to Isleworth (near London), Linkfield House, 183 Twickenham Road, where William Stokes has opened his new school. In early July, he again moves and takes up a position as a teacher at the school run by the Reverend Thomas Slade-Jones at Holme Court, 158 Twickenham Road, Isleworth. October Reads Souvestre’s Le philosophe sous les toits (93). 13 October Cites poems by De Génestet, a poet he quotes from quite often in this period (94).
01 Nov 1876
November, 1876 – Vincent begins preaching and teaching Sunday School in Turnham Green
The featured image is a sketch of the Church in Turnham Green where Vincent taught Sunday School and preached beginning in November of 1876. In late October of 1876, Vincent delivers his first sermon, at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Richmond. On November 19, he is brought aboard as a volunteer worker at Slade-Jones’ Congregational Church in Turnham Green, where he preaches and teaches Sunday school. He becomes enamored with and enriched by hymnals and admits in correspondence he sings them as he walks alone and hopes to be able to one day creating paintings which inspire like hymns. He also preaches in Petersham at this time. In December of 1876, he and Anna will travel together back to Etten from London for the holidays and be joined by Theo for the Van Gogh family Christmas gathering. In a letter written to his brother in November: “Last Sunday evening I went to a village on the Thames, Petersham. In the morning I had been at the Sunday school at Turnham Green, and went after sunset from there to Richmond and then on to Petersham. It grew dark early and I wasn’t sure of the way, it was a surprisingly muddy road over a kind of embankment or rise on the hill covered with gnarled elm trees and shrubs. At last I saw below the rise a light in a small house, and scrambled and waded over to it, and there I was told the way. But, old boy, there was a beautiful little wooden church with a kindly light at the end of that dark road, I read Acts V:14-16.12 Acts XII:5-17, Peter in prison, and Acts XX:7-37, Paul preaching in Macedonia, and then I told the story of John and Theagenes yet again. There was a harmonium in the church, played by a young woman from a boarding school that was attending en masse. In the morning it was so beautiful on the way to Turnham Green, the chestnut trees and clear blue sky and the morning sun were reflected in the water of the Thames, the grass was gloriously green and everywhere all around the sound of church bells. The day before I’d gone on a long journey to London, I left here at 4 in the morning, arrived at Hyde Park at half past six, the mist was lying on the grass and leaves were falling from the trees, in the distance one saw the shimmering lights of street-lamps that hadn’t yet been put out, and the towers of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and the sun rose red in the morning mist – from there on to Whitechapel, that poor district of London, then to Chancery Lane and Westminster, then to Clapham to visit Mrs Loyer again, her birthday was the day before. She is indeed a widow in whose heart the psalms of David and the chapters of Isaiah are not dead but sleeping. Her name is written in the book of life. […]
01 Jan 1877
January, 1877 – Vincent is offered a position in a bookshop in Dordrecht by a friend of the family
The Blussé & Van Braam bookshop is pictured in this view courtesy of the Regional Archives of Dordrecht, Netherlands, Netherlands and their website (access by clicking on link). Even though he has been preaching and teaching Sunday school, Vincent is encouraged by his father and mother to pursue a more formal education on the order of 8 years of schooling to become a pastor or to pursue some other “normal” and honorable career. A friend of Vincent’s father hears from his son about their desire to find Vincent a respectable job and Vincent writes to his brother of the conversation that ends up moving him to Dordrecht. “Etten, 31 December 1876 My dear Theo, I sincerely wish you the best in the new year, I wish you well and may you be blessed in all things. Wonderful to have seen each other again, how beautiful it was that morning you left, and how often we’ll think back on that trip to Chaam. Ma’s eye is hurting a lot again, she has a bandage on; Pa delivered such a beautiful sermon again this morning. And now this evening New Year’s Eve again, if only you were here. Now then, there’s something I must tell you: a couple of days ago Mr Braat of Dordrecht paid a visit to Uncle Vincent and they spoke about me, and Uncle asked Mr B. whether he would have a place for me, if I should wish it. Mr B. thought he might have a place, and said that I should come sometime to talk about it. So I went there early yesterday morning; Pa and Ma and I, too, thought it was something we shouldn’t let pass without seeing what it was. Agreed that after the New Year I should go to him for a week, after that we’ll see. There are many things that make it desirable, first and foremost my being back in Holland near Pa and Ma, and also you and the others. Moreover, the salary would certainly be a little better than with Mr Jones, and especially with an eye to later, when a man has need of more, 1v:2 one is obliged to think of such things. As far as the other thing is concerned, for these reasons I won’t give it up. Pa’s spirit is so great and many-sided, and at all events I hope that something of it will develop in me. The change means that now, instead of teaching those boys, I’ll be working in a bookshop. How often we’ve longed to be together, and how terrible it is to feel so far away from one another in cases of illness or anxiety, as we felt, for example, during your illness, and then the feeling that lack of money may very well stand in the way of our being together in times of need. It’s quite possible, then, that I’ll go there.” To Theo. Etten, Sunday, 31 December 1876 9 January Becomes a general assistant in the […]
01 May 1885
May 1885 – Vincent completes The Potato Eaters
Vincent is pleased with his efforts to bring life into his work and to use the colors of the soil to paint the peasants who sow and reap in it. http://historycake.vincentinparis.com/item/potato-eaters/
28 Feb 1886
February 28, 1886 – Vincent arrives in Paris
And he arrives unannounced from Antwerp. He sends a letter to Theo on or about February 28 and goes to the Louvre to wait for Theo to come meet him. Arriving for the second time in Paris, this time as an artist instead of a struggling dealer, Vincent admires the Rembrandts and Da Vinci’s in the Salon Carre, a great hall in the Louvre containing European masterpieces. “My dear Theo, Don’t be cross with me that I’ve come all of a sudden. I’ve thought about it so much and I think we’ll save time this way. Will be at the Louvre from midday, or earlier if you like. A reply, please, to let me know when you could come to the Salle Carrée. As for expenses, I repeat, it comes to the same thing. I have some money left, that goes without saying, and I want to talk to you before spending anything. We’ll sort things out, you’ll see. So get there as soon as possible. I shake your hand. Yours truly, Vincent” Vincent to Theo, @2-28-1886, # 567
16 May 1886
Spring 1886 – Vincent works from his studio in the Rue Lepic apartment and the Cormon Studio
Vincent works on plaster casts of torsos and experiments with color on flower arrangements in the studio at the Rue Lepic apartment.
01 Jun 1886
31 Dec 1886
28 Jan 1887
January 28, 1887
This stitched image of several photographs shows from about July of 1887 to March of 1889 - post foundation laying to completion (minus the elevators still under design/installation) of the 300 meter tower complete with searchlight.
15 May 1887
Spring 1887 – Vincent has a relationship with Agostina Segatori, manager of the Cafe Le Tambourin
While they seeing each other, Vincent paints her many vases of flowers as he works on his technique and color combinations. Many of these hang on the walls of the cafe for a time and Vincent’s work is seen by his fellow artists and art patrons who frequent the cafe.
30 Jul 1887
Vincent paints in Asnieres Sur Seine during the day and becomes close with the younger and talented Emile Bernard, one of the founders of Cloissonism in modern painting. The photograph was put up for auction today at the The Romantic Agnoy in Brussels, Belgium. According to the auction listing, the photo is a melanotype created by Jules Antoine showing Van Gogh talking with a group of friends that includes artist Paul Gauguin, artist Emile Bernard, Félix Jobbé-Duval, and André Antoine. The picture was estimated to fetch between €120,000 and €150,000 (~$136,000 to $170,000). The final sale price has not yet been made public.
19 Feb 1888
February 19, 1888 – Vincent visits Seurat’s studio with Theo and then leaves for Arles
“My dear Theo, During the journey I thought at least as much about you as about the new country I was seeing. But I tell myself that you’ll perhaps come here often yourself later on. It seems to me almost impossible to be able to work in Paris, unless you have a refuge in which to recover and regain your peace of mind and self-composure. Without that, you’d be bound to get utterly numbed.” Vincent to Theo after arriving in Arles: February 21, 1888, #577 Vincent has left Paris, in part, to seek the effects of a more Mediterranean sun on his broadening color palette. He also tired of the big city feel of Paris and longed for a less populated landscape upon which to roam and paint the scenes that moved him.
12 May 1888
01 Jun 1888
May 30 to June 2, 1888 – Vincent visits Saintes Maries de la Mer
Inspired by bands of gypsies in procession through Arles on their way down the 50 kilometer path to the sea through the Camargue of Provence, Vincent saw the Mediterranean sea for the first time in his life in the village of Saintes Maries de la Mer. A sacred site which still attracts thousands of followers in late May for the celebration of the biblical journey of Mary Magdalene, Mary Solame, and Lazarus fleeing Egypt after the crucifixion of Jesus for the welcome shores of southern France. Saint Sarah, either a resident of the town who took in the Mary’s or a guide who brought them across the Mediterranean is venerated during the three day annual ceremonies.
23 Oct 1888
23 Dec 1888
December 23, 1888 – Vincent cuts off part of his ear with a razor and is admitted to the Arles Hospital
In an absinthe fueled state of instability and believing that Gauguin is deserting him and his studio of the south, Vincent uses a straight razor to slice off the lobe and part of the cartilage of his ear. He has martyred himself like a bull in arena at Arles and then taken the ear, wrapped in a handkerchief to where he hoped to find Gauguin, a local brothel where Gauguin favored one of the ladies of the evening. He is later found passed out, probably due to the volume of blood loss, and admitted unconscious to the hospital in Arles. Another potential contributing factor to Vincent’s break was his receipt of a letter from his brother this day in which Theo announces his proposal of marriage to Johanna Bonger, two large and isolating pieces of news on the same day may have pushed Vincent from reality.
31 Dec 1888
December 31, 1888 – Vincent is coherent after 7 days of being semi-conscious in the Hospital in Arles
Vincent experiences his first break from reality for 7 days but pulls out very coherently and is arguing for his release by the 2nd of January. He is released and returns to the empty Yellow House on January 7, 1889.
04 Jan 1889
January 4, 1889 – Vincent is allowed to leave the hospital with his friend Roulin.
They go back to the Yellow House for a few hours after a walk in the fresh air and Roulin reports Vincent recovered in a letter he writes to Theo. Vincent also writes a couple of notes to Gauguin and Theo and then returns to the hospital until the 7th when he is released completely.
07 Jan 1889
January 7th, 1889 – Vincent is released from the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Arles and returns to the Yellow House
Dr. Rey and two colleagues accompany Vincent back to his house to view his painting and talk color theory and complimentaries. Vincent writes Theo the next morning and sets to work on a number of portraits – Dr. Rey and a new self portrait with bandaged ear and to work on the empty chair he had begun before his attack.
07 Feb 1889
February 7th, 1889 – Vincent is taken to the Hospital Dieu in Arles again
He has suffered another break from reality and believed for three days he was being poisoned. His charwoman or cleaning lady told his neighbors he was secluding himself and not eating and the neighbors take the matter to the superintendent of police in Arles. He has Vincent watched, does some investigation and declares Vincent to be unsafe. He is admitted with hallucinations of voices reproaching him and continues to believe others are trying to poison him. He will stay in the hospital for the next ten days.
17 Feb 1889
February 17th, 1889 – Vincent is again released from the hospital in Arles as his symptoms subside.
He heads home during the day to work and takes his meals at the hospital and also sleeps there each night. His neighbors are alarmed at his return and create a petition for the mayor alleging Vincent is a danger to women and children and drinks too much and is not in complete control of his faculties. Within a week, the mayor has decided to agree with the petition’s recommendation that he be removed to either his family or an institution.
25 Feb 1889
February 25th, 1889 – Vincent is again admitted to the Hospital Dieu in Arles.
His Yellow House is locked up and Vincent is escorted to the hospital in Arles by the superintendent of police around February 25th and harbors great resentment towards his neighbors and the people of Arles from that day forward. He is put in isolation and not allowed his pipe or paints or books. Vincent is lucid and aware of all that is going on around him and views his room as a cell.
26 Mar 1889
March 26th, 1889 – Paul Signac visits Vincent in the hospital at Arles.
After a month without a book or his paints, together Vincent and Signac are allowed to go the Yellow House and Signac is allowed to force open the door as the police have broken the lock during Vincent’s incarceration. Vincent presents Signac with a painting of bloaters (a demeaning reference to the people of Arles) similar to two studies Vincent had completed in Paris. Signac had admired these pieces during Vincent’s stay there and the summer months spent together in Asnieres sur Seine painting from the river banks. After this visit, Vincent will be allowed to read and paint again at the asylum/hospital in Arles. Signac sends a letter to Theo the next day reporting Vincent to be in good health both physically and mentally.
19 Apr 1889
April 19th, 1889 – Vincent writes Theo that he would rather live in an asylum for a few months than move into a new apartment in Arles.
Two days before, Theo has married Johanna Bonger. Vincent has chosen the hospital of Saint Paul de Mausole at Saint Remy de Provence, about 30 kilometers northeast of Arles. He has been painting orchards again and is reminded of last spring and his first views of the crau and Montmajour and the early blossoming fruit trees. Within two weeks, he will self admit at the asylum at St. Remy and live and paint from there for nearly 12 months before moving back to the environs of Paris at Auvers Sur Oise, his final resting place.
08 May 1889
May 8th, 1889 – Vincent, in the company of Reverend Salles from Arles admits himself to St. Paul de Mausole in St. Remy.
He has spent the last two weeks packing his art work in cases at the Yellow House and has sent them off to Theo in Paris by freight train. He will at first paint and draw in the gardens of the hospital and the view of the wheat fields and alpilles he can see from his barred window. After a time, he is allowed off the grounds during the day where he will continue to paint wheat fields and laborers and will also find cypresses and olive trees during this period and capture them in a way previously unseen.
05 Sep 1889
September, 1889 – Vincent paints two self portraits at St. Remy
He ends up bringing both of them to Auvers with him on the train a few months later. One has a violet blue background and the other a blue gray swirling background (F:626 & F:627).
19 May 1890
May 19, 1890 – Vincent leaves Arles for Paris and Auvers Sur Oise
“My dear brother After a last discussion with Mr. Peyron I obtained permission to pack my trunk, which I’ve sent by goods train. The 30 kilos of luggage one is allowed to take will allow me to take a few frames, easel and some stretching frames &c.” … … ” In Paris, if I feel up to it, I’d immediately very much like to do a painting of a yellow bookshop (gas effect), which I’ve had in my mind for so long. You’ll see that I’ll be at work right from the day after my arrival. I tell you, as regards work, my mind feels absolutely serene and the brushstrokes come to me and follow each other very logically. Anyway until Sunday AT THE LATEST, I shake your hand firmly in the meantime, warm regards to Jo. Ever yours, Vincent.” Vincent to Theo, May 13, 1890 – #872
24 May 1890
May 24, 1890 – Vincent probably paints The House of Pere Pilon on or around this date
There is no mention of this painting made in any known letters to or from Vincent. The date of the painting is estimated based upon it being known there was a storm experienced over the following weekend which Vincent captures in a couple of paintings – and the background of this painting possibly showing the beginnings of that coming storm.
30 May 1890
May 30, 1890 – Vincent paints House of Pere Pilon and Village Street and Stairs with Figures
This dating is based upon no mention being made in a letter of the painting but a similar motif to chestnut tree paintings known to have been completed by May 24 (Vincent to Theo May 25, 1890). Probably a companion to House of Pere Pilon, also presumed to have been done in the same few days before June in 1890.
01 Jun 1890
June 1, 1890 – Vincent paints Dr Gachet’s garden and his daughter, Marguerite
“He certainly seems to me as ill and distraught as you or me, and he is older and lost his wife several years ago, but he is very much the doctor, and his profession and faith still sustain him. We are great friends already, and as it happens, he already knew Brias of Montpellier and has the same idea of him that I have, that there you have someone significant in the history of modern art. I am working at his portrait, the head with a white cap, very fair, very light, the hands also a light flesh tint, a blue frock coat and a cobalt blue background, leaning on a red table, on which are a yellow book and a foxglove plant with purple flowers [F 753, JH 2007]. It is in the same sentiment as the self-portrait I did when I left for this place.“ …….”I’ll very probably also do the portrait of his daughter, who is 19, and with whom I can easily imagine Jo will quickly make friends.“ Vincent to Theo, June 3rd, 1890
03 Jun 1890
June 3, 1890 – Vincent begins work on Dr. Gachet and the Church at Auvers
Vincent’s love of portraiture finds a happy and willing model in Dr. Gachet, an artist himself. He very much likes Vincent’s painting of him and requests another which Van Gogh cheerfully does. The Church at Auvers reminds him of earlier studies he created in Nuenen in The Netherlands.
16 Jun 1890
June 16, 1890 – Vincent paints the White House at Night
This exact dating of the painting is based upon research performed by astronomers from a Texas university aligning the white house and the rising of Venus on an around July 17th when Vincent writes Theo to describe the painting.
24 Jun 1890
June 24, 1890 – Vincent paints Undergrowth with Two Figures and Wheat Fields near Auvers & The Chateau at Sunset
This dating is based upon a letter written to Theo and Jo about the paintings on June 24, 1890 where all three are described. These three double size canvases were most likely meant to show together.
10 Jul 1890
July 7-10, 1890 – Vincent paints Wheat Field with Crows
Widely rumored to be Vincent’s last painting due to its ominous and menacing skies supposedly being a forewarning of his suicide, instead, this painting is thought to be more about rejuvenation and hope as well as the sadness and or loneliness most feel upon first glance. More likely, this was painted about two weeks before Vincent’s death at about the same time as “Wheat Field Under Clouded Sky” (F:778)
27 Jul 1890
July 27, 1890 – Vincent is discovered bleeding from a gunshot wound, presumably self-inflicted
There are some disagreements as to exactly where Vincent received the wound that ended his life but it is confirmed it happened during the day on July 27th. For more detail on Vincent’s death, click here.
29 Jul 1890
July 29, 1890 @ 1:30 AM – Vincent succumbs to his wound and passes away
Emile’s letter to Aurier – August 2 1890: My dear Aurier, Your absence from Paris means that you have not heard the dreadful news which however I am obliged to tell you without delay: Our dear friend Vincent died four days ago. I think that you will have already guessed the fact that he killed himself. On Sunday evening he went out into the countryside near Auvers, placed his easel against a haystack and went behind the chateau and fired a revolver shot at himself. Under the violence of the impact (the bullet entered his body below the heart) he fell, but he got up again, and fell three times more, before he got back to the inn where he was staying (Ravoux, place de la Mairie) without telling anyone about his injury. He finally died on Monday evening, still smoking his pipe which he refused to let go of, explaining that his suicide had been absolutely deliberate and that he had done it in complete lucidity. A typical detail that I was told about his wish to die was that when Dr. Gachet told him that he still hoped to save his life, he said, “Then I’ll have to do it over again.” But, alas, it was no longer possible to save him…. On Wednesday 30 July, yesterday that is, I arrived in Auvers at about 10 o’clock. His brother, Theodore van ghohg [sic], was there together with Dr. Gachet. Also Tanguy (he had been there since 9 o’clock). Charles Laval accompanied me. The coffin was already closed, I arrived too late to see the man again who had left me four years ago so full of expectations of all kinds… The innkeeper told us all the details of the accident, the offensive visit of the gendarmes who even went up to his bedside to reproach him for an act for which he alone was responsible…etc… On the walls of the room where his body was laid out all his last canvases were hung making a sort of halo for him and the brilliance of the genius that radiated from them made this death even more painful for us artists who were there. The coffin was covered with a simple white cloth and surrounded with masses of flowers, the sunflowers that he loved so much, yellow dahlias, yellow flowers everywhere. It was, you will remember, his favourite colour, the symbol of the light that he dreamed of as being in people’s hearts as well as in works of art. Near him also on the floor in front of his coffin were his easel, his folding stool and his brushes. Many people arrived, mainly artists, among whom I recognized Lucien Pissarro and Lauzet, the others I did not know, also some local people who had known him a little, seen him once o twice and who liked him because he was so good-hearted, so human… There we were, completely silent all of us together around this coffin that held our […]