Vincent Van Gogh quotes

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Vincent Van Gogh

Birthdate: 30. March 1853
Date of death: 29. July 1890

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. He was not commercially successful, and his suicide at 37 came after years of mental illness and poverty.

Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet, and thoughtful. As a young man he worked as an art dealer, often travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, and the two kept up a long correspondence by letter. His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and local landscapes. His paintings grew brighter in colour as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily. His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor when, in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals, including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet. His depression continued and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a Lefaucheux revolver. He died from his injuries two days later.

Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, and was considered a madman and a failure. He became famous after his suicide, and exists in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist "where discourses on madness and creativity converge". His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his painting style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists. He attained widespread critical, commercial and popular success over the ensuing decades, and is remembered as an important but tragic painter, whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.

Works

„The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh

Quote in Vincent's letter, from Arles, Tuesday, 18 September 1888; as cited in Van Gogh : The Self-portraits (1969) by Fritz Erpel, p. 17
Variant translations: The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others.
As quoted in Mary Engelbreit's Words To Live By (1999) by Mary Engelbreit
I tell you the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.
1880s, 1888
Variant: There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

„The sadness will last forever.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh

Attributed to Vincent, as quoted by Theo van gogh in his letter from Paris, to Elisabeth van Gogh, 5 August 1890 http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/21/etc-Theo-Lies.htm
Some of the last words Vincent said to Theo, while dying
1890s

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„I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh

As quoted in Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity (1997) by Jan Phillips, p. 176
Undated

„It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh

Quote of Vincent's letter to Theo, from Amsterdam, 3 April 1878; a cited in The Letters of Vincent van Gogh to his Brother, 1872-1886 (1927) Constable & Co
Variant: Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.
As quoted in Wisdom for the Soul : Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing (2006) by Larry Chang, p. 483
1870s
Context: If only we try to live sincerely, it will go well with us, even though we are certain to experience real sorrow, and great disappointments, and also will probably commit great faults and do wrong things, but it certainly is true, that it is better to be high-spirited, even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love, is well done.

„Now, there are people who say to me "Why did you have anything to do with her," — that's one fact. And there are people who say to her, "Why did you have anything to do with him,"“

—  Vincent Van Gogh

that's another fact.
Apart from that, both she and I have grief enough and trouble enough, but as for regrets — neither of us have any. Look here — I believe without question, or have the certain knowledge, that she loves me. I believe without question, or have the certain knowledge, that I love her. It has been sincerely meant. But has it also been foolish, etc?
Perhaps, if you like — but aren't the wise ones, those who never do anything foolish, even more foolish in my eyes than I am in theirs?
1880s, 1884, Letter to Theo (Nuenen, Oct. 1884)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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