VINCENT VAN GOGH: quotes on life story & painting art – from letters; + biography
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853 – 1890) as young artist, creating his early paintings was at first a typical Dutch painter, using a lot of broken dark brown / black/grey colors in his paintings: ‘Potato Eaters’ in 1885. Just in a few years Vincent became in France an artist with a very colorful and expressive palette that even Cezanne couldn’t bear. Vincent’s quotes here are taken from the many letters he wrote to his younger brother Theo and artists friends. Vincent wrote about his art, technique, daily life and the paintings he made. His quotes give us moreover a lot of biography stories and facts.
* At the bottom biography more life stories and biography facts & art links for Vincent van Gogh. When you enjoy Vincent’s quotes, please share them on Facebook, Google +1 or Twitter; – the editor.
Vincent van Gogh: ‘Starry Night’, painting, 1889….
VINCENT VAN GOGH, artist statements on art, life and landscape painting; from letters to Theo
- Some time ago I saw a painting by Thijs Maris (Mathijs Maris is one of the famous three painter brothers Maris, all three are famous Dutch impressionist painters, ed.) that reminded me of it. An old Dutch town with rows of brownish red houses with step-gables and tall flights of steps, grey roofs, and white or yellow doors, window-frames and cornices; canals with ships and a large white drawbridge, a barge with a man at the tiller going under it. The little house of the bridge-keeper, whom one sees through the window, sitting in his office. Some distance away a stone bridge over the canal, with people and a cart with white horses crossing it. And everywhere movement, a porter with his wheelbarrow, a man leaning against the railing, gazing into the water, women in black with white caps. The foreground a quay with paving-stones and a black railing. In the distance a tower rises above the houses. A greyish white sky over everything. It’s a small painting, upright. The subject is nearly the same as the large Jacob Maris Amsterdam, which you perhaps know, only this is talent…
* Vincent van Gogh, artist quote on a landscape painting by Matthijs Maris, one of the famous Impressionist painters of those days: letter to his brother Theo, London 6 April 1875; the complete letter of 6 April 1875 – a fully annotated online publication of all the letters, written by or to Vincent van Gogh (free access), by Van Gogh museum Amsterdam. (a painter of Dutch origin, creating portraits, still life + landscape; famous for his many letters he wrote to his brother Theo e. o.; at the bottom more biography facts + art links for more history information)
- My dear Theo, Thanks for your letter of this morning. Yesterday I saw the Corot exhibition. It included a painting of the ‘Mount of Olives’; I’m glad he painted that. On the right, a group of olive trees, dark against the darkening blue sky; in the background hills covered with shrubs and a couple of tall trees, above them the evening star. There are 3 Corots at the Salon, very beautiful, the most beautiful one, painted shortly before his death, ‘Women cutting wood’, will probably appear as a woodcut in L’Illustration or Le Monde Illustré. I’ve also seen the Louvre and the Luxembourg, as you can imagine. The Ruisdaels in the Louvre are magnificent, especially ‘The bush’, ‘The breakwater’ and ‘The ray of sunlight’ I wish you could see the small Rembrandts there, the ‘Supper at Emmaus’, and two pendants, ‘The philosophers’.
* Vincent van Gogh, early artist quote in a letter to his brother Theo on a landscape painting of the French painter Corot, Vincent loved very much: letter to his brother Theo, Paris, 31 May 1875; the complete letter of 31 May 1875 – a fully annotated online publication with free access of all the letters, written by or to Vincent; Van Gogh museum Amsterdam.
- My dear Theo, Feeling, even a fine feeling, for the beauties of nature isn’t the same as religious feeling, although I believe that the two are closely connected. The same is true of a feeling for art. Don’t give in to that too much either. Hold fast especially to your love for the firm ( the Paris’ art dealers Goupil, where both brothers Van gogh worked, Vincent started in 1869 and his younger brother Theo in 1873, ed.) and for your work … … Nearly everyone has a feeling for nature, some more than others, but there are few who feel that God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Pa is one of the few, Ma too, and also Uncle Vincent, I believe.
* Vincent van Gogh, source of his early artist quote on the relation between the beauty of art and the feeling of religion: letter to his brother Theo, Paris, 17 Sept. 1875; the complete letter of 17 Sept. 1875 – a fully annotated online publication with free access of all Vincent’s letters; Van Gogh museum Amsterdam
- You know what I want. If I may become a clergyman, if I fulfil that position so that my work is equal to that of our Father (who was clergyman like his uncle in Amsterdam, where Vincent stayed, fh), well then I shall thank God. I have good hope that I shall succeed, it was once said to me by someone who was further on in life than I, and who was no stranger in Jerusalem – I mean someone who had sought it himself and had also found it; it was once said to me: I believe that you are a Christian, you see, it was so good for me to hear those words. You too hold fast, no matter what you wish for yourself, to the thought of Christ and keep His saying, as you do. It is good to believe that there is a God who knows what we need, better than we know it ourselves, and who helps us when we need help.
* Vincent van Gogh, source of his early artist quote expressing his religious feelings to brother Theo: letter to his brother Theo, Amsterdam, 31 May 1877; the complete letter of 31 May 1877 – a fully annotated online publication with free access of all the letters, written by or to Vincent – Van Gogh museum Amsterdam
- Dear Theo, on your birthday I am sending you my best wishes for good health and serenity. I should have liked to send you the picture of the potato eaters on that day, but though it is getting on well, it is not quite finished yet. Though the ultimate picture will have been painted in a relatively short time and for the greater part from memory, it has taken a whole winter of painting studies of heads and hands. And as to those few days in which I have painted it now, it has been a real battle; but one for which I feel great enthusiasm. Although I was repeatedly afraid I should never pull it off…
* Vincent van Gogh with a famous life quote on his drawing of The Potato-eaters’ he sent to Theo for his birthday – with art remarks on painting the canvas too: letter to his brother Theo, Nuenen, 30 April 1885, as quoted in ”Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock – ”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 169.
- I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish, and si it speaks of ’manual labour’, and how they have honestly earned their food. I have wanted to give the impression of a way of life quite different from that of us civilized people. Therefore I am not at all anxious for everyone to like it or to admire it at once… … he who prefers to see the peasants in their Sundays-best, may do as he likes. I personally am convinced I get better results by painting them in their roughness than by giving them a conventional charm.
* Vincent van Gogh with a famous life quote on his drawing of The Potato-eaters’ he sent to Theo for his birthday – with art remarks on painting the farmers truly in their daily life appearance: letter to his brother Theo, as quoted in ”Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock – ”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 172.
- My house here (in Arles, ed.) is painted the yellow colour of fresh butter on the outside with glaringly green shutters; it stands in the full sunlight in a square which has a green garden with plane trees, oleanders, and acacias… …it is already a few days since I started writing this letter, and now I will continue it. In point of fact I was interrupted these days by my toiling on a new picture representing the outside of a night café. On the terrace there are the tiny figures of people drinking. An enormous yellow lantern sheds it light on the terrace, the house front and the sidewalk, and even casts certain brightness on the pavement of the street, which takes a pinkish violet tone. The gabble-topped fronts of the houses in a street stretching away under a blue sky spangled with stars are dark blue or violet and there is a green tree. Here you have a night picture without any black in it, done with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green, and in these surroundings the lighted square acquires a pale sulphur and greenish citron-yellow colour. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot.
* Vincent van Gogh, source of his artist quote on his night-painting The ‘Yellow House’, with remarks on the chosen colors : letter to his sister Willemien van Gogh, Arles, 8 September 1888, as quoted in ”Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock – ”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 172.
Vincent van Gogh’s artist quotes??
editor Fons Heijnsbroek
Vincent van Gogh; biography facts and information on his art and life
Vincent van Gogh was born in Zundert in 1853, a small farmer village in the South of the Netherlands where his father was preaching. As a child Vincent showed no great interest in art, – did drawings – but when he was 16 years old, he began working at the Hague art gallery. After several transfers that took him to London and Paris, he lost interest in becoming a professional art dealer and found a job as a missionary instead around 1876. Vincent worked in a small Belgium Province in 1878 and began helping a group of miners with whom he empathized greatly. Van Gogh donated many of his clothes and possessions to the miners which was frowned upon by the Dutch Reformed Church. Consequently, van Gogh left the Church and set out to become an artist.
In 1881 Vincent frequently visited his nephew Anton Mauve in The Hague where he learned the recent paintings of the Dutch famous Impressionist painter group in The Haque; The Hague School’. Artist of this group were Mauve, Jacob Maris, Willem Maris and Thijs Maris, Weissenbruch, Mesdag, Breitner en Israëls, all practicing a typical Dutch Impressionism of ‘grey and brown’ colors. Mauve learned him how to paint working people and labourers in the county. In 1885 van Gogh completed his first major work, ‘The Potato Eaters’ after a lot of detailed oil sketches of the faces.
Vincent van Gogh travelled to Paris in March 1886, where he shared Theo’s Rue Laval apartment on Montmartre, to study at Fernand Cormon’s studio. In June, they took a larger apartment further uphill, at 54 Rue Lepic. Because the brothers had no need to write letters to communicate, little is known about van Gogh’s stay in Paris, and less is known about this time than earlier or later periods of his life. Vincent learned the art of Impressionism and Post-impressionism, and gained exposure to artists such as Gauguin, Pissarro, Monet, and Bernard. After seeing Monticelli’s work, which he admired, at the Galerie DelaReybarette, Vincent immediately adopted a brighter palette and a bolder attack on the canvas, particularly in paintings such as his Seascape at Saintes-Maries. As a result Van Gogh adopted brighter, more vibrant colors in his art and began experimenting with his technique. Vincent did not continue in adapting the ‘broken colors’ of post-Impressionism but started to used strong colored forms in his paintings. Two years later, in 1888, Vincent moved to Arles where he was later joined by his new friend Gauguin. It was at this time that he created ‘Sunflowers’ and ‘The yellow House’ (read his quote there on colors). (more detailed biography of Vincent van Gogh; Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh; art links for more biography facts about life & painting of the Dutch painter
* ; published by the Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam”>Vincent van Gogh’s letters with many life story facts:
an excellent, fully annotated, richly illustrated website, (must be a hell of a job!) featuring all extant letters written by and to Vincent van Gogh which include many of his life story facts; most of the letters are letters written to his brother Theo. Access to the site is free of charge and produced by the Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam.