Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Holland. In 1885 he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, a haunting scene of domestic poverty. A year later he began studying in Paris, where he met Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat, who became very important influences on his work. In 1888 he left Paris for the Provencal landscape at Arles, the subject of many of his best works, including Sunflowers.

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The lamps are burning and the starry sky is over it all.

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh refers to a collection of 903 surviving letters written (820) or received (83) by Vincent van Gogh. More than 650 of these were from Vincent to his brother Theo. The collection also includes letters van Gogh wrote to his sister Wil and other relatives, as well as between artists such as Paul Gauguin, Anthon van Rappard and Émile Bernard.

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Of the 844 surviving letters that van Gogh wrote, 663 were written to Theo, 9 to Theo and Jo. Of the letters Vincent received from Theo, only 39 survive. The first letter was written when Vincent was 19 and begins, "My dear Theo". At that time Vincent was not yet developed as a letter writer – he was factual, but not introspective. When he moved to London, and later to Paris, he began to add more personal information.

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We are surrounded by poetry on all sides..

● The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too

● Don't lose heart if it's very difficult at times, everything will come out all right and nobody can in the beginning do as he wishes.

● Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.

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There is peace even in the storm

In Less Than 10 Years, He Painted Almost 900 Paintings
From November 1881 to July 1890, van Gogh produced close to 900 paintings. At the age of 27, he abandoned his unsuccessful careers as an art dealer and a missionary and concentrated on his painting and drawing. When he began painting he used peasants and farmers as models and then flowers, landscapes and himself because he was too poor to pay his subjects.

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Drawing is the root of everything!

● If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it - keep going, keep going come what may.

● What preys on my mind is simply this one question: what am I good for, could I not be of service or use in some way?

● How right it is to love flowers and the greenery of pines and ivy and hawthorn hedges; they have been with us from the very beginning.

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It’s popularly believed that van Gogh cut off his ear but he actually only severed a part of the ear lobe. The accepted version is that the artist mutilated himself with a razor after an argument with his friend Paul Gauguin in Arles where they were both staying during Christmas of 1888. He then ran to a bordello and presented the cut lobe to a prostitute. A new book by two German historians purports that what really happened is that Gauguin lopped off his friend’s lobe while they were fencing and the self-mutilation was concocted between the two to avoid embarrassment and arrest. Van Gogh immortalized his wound in his Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.

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money can be repaid, but not kindness such as yours

● There are often beams in our eye that we know not of. Let us therefore ask that our eye may become single, for then we ourselves shall become wholly single.

● Do go on doing a lot of walking and keep up your love of nature, for that is the right way to understand art better and better. Painters understand nature and love her and teach us to see. And there are painters who never do anything that is no good..

● I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life, the power to create.

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On July 27, 1890, van Gogh shot himself in the chest. There were no witnesses and the gun was never found. He committed the act either in the wheat field he had been painting or in a barn. He was able to stagger to the auberge in Auvers where he was staying. Two doctors tended to him, but the bullet could not be removed because there was no surgeon available. He died on July 29, 1890 from an infection in the wound. His brother Theo later wrote to their sister Elizabeth,

“In the last letter which he wrote me and which dates from some four days before his death, it says, ‘I try to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired.’ People should realize that he was a great artist, something which often coincides with being a great human being. In the course of time this will surely be acknowledged, and many will regret his early death.” Theo, who had been supporting his brother, died six month later. Theo’s wife dedicated herself to collecting her late brother-in-law’s work and thanks to her diligence, it began to receive recognition 11 years later.

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