ABOVE: Dr. Paul Gachet (1828-1909) was Van Gogh’s physician during the artist’s last days in Auvers-sur-Oise. This portrait was from 1885.
with Sien Hoornik, a pregnant prostitute and mother of one, which was to lead to him falling out with his mentor who greatly disapproved of the romance, despite having introduced them. Vincent, however, continued to use Hoornik as his model, although his mood swings soon ended the affair. He then followed Mauve and other artists, such as Van Rappard, to Drenthe, a province in the Netherlands. He became enamored with the paintings of French artist, Jean-Francois Millet, who had a renowned reputation for his portrayal of peasant life, and at the age of 29, Van Gogh moved out of his parents’ house to a room he rented from the Catholic Church in which he set up a makeshift studio. His fascination for the anatomical features of peasants led to The Potato Eaters in 1885, and while this work was to become considered one of his best early pieces, it failed to gain recognition for the artist at
the time. It was a personal failure for Van Gogh and, as a result, he enrolled at an academy in Antwerp in order to gain some professional training in art techniques. It was while at the academy that he discovered Rubens (1577-1640) as well as Japanese art, both of which would later affect Van Gogh’s style. In 1886, he moved to Paris to live with Theo where he became embroiled in the modern art of the impressionists and post-impressionists. The dark colors he’d used in The Potato Eaters were outdated and he quickly began to incorporate bright, bold colors, which brought life to his works. He became firm friends with Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), the French post-impressionist, (who was also not appreciated until after his death). Hoping to encourage Monet (1840-1926), Bernard (1868-1941), and Pissarro (1830-1903) to help him create an art school alongside Gauguin, Van Gogh moved to Arles in the
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