Vincent Van Gogh was born in Brabant in the Netherlands in 1853. As a young man he worked as an art dealer in London and Paris. He was dismissed from this job because he had argued with customers about art.
In 1881 he tried to commit suicide. He was depressed because he had fallen in love with his cousin, but she had rejected him.
In 1886 he went to Paris to study art, and it was while he was studying that he met Degas, Pissarro, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Renoir.
After two years in Paris, Van Gogh went to live in Arles in the south of France. His friend and fellow painter, Gauguin, who he had met in Paris, came to join him. The two men settled down in Arles, but there was a lot of tension between them. Vincent used to drink heavily, and they quarrelled fiercely, mainly about the nature of art.
One evening in December 1888, Van Gogh left the house carrying a razor blade. He’d been drinking, and he’d had an argument with Gauguin. He cut off part of his ear.
After this, he moved voluntarily into an asylum for the insane at St-Rémy-de-Provence. He used to wake up at six in the morning and go out to paint. It was here, in the last two years of his life, that many of his most famous paintings were completed. These included Starry Night, Irises, and Self-Portrait without a Beard.
In 1890 he left the warm south and moved to Auvers-sur-Oise. Here he continued working despite his growing depression. It was while he was painting outside that Vincent shot himself in the chest. Two days later, he died. He was buried in the cemetery in Auvers.
When Van Gogh died, he had no money because he’d only sold one of his paintings, The Red Vineyard, in his entire life. His sister-in-law took his collection to Holland, where his work was published. He was instantly recognized as a genius.