Vincent van Gogh Timeline

A Chronology of Vincent van Gogh's Life

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890). Self-portrait with Straw Hat, 1887. Oil on cardboard.
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890). Self-portrait with Straw Hat, 1887. Oil on cardboard. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

1853

Vincent is born on March 30 in Groot-Zundert, North Brabant, The Netherlands. His parents are Anna Cornelia Carbentus (1819-1907) and Theodorus van Gogh (1822-1885), a Dutch Reformed Church minister.

1857

Brother Theodorus ("Theo") van Gogh is born on May 1.

1860

Vincent's parents send him to a local elementary school. From 1861 to 1863, he was homeschooled. 

1864-66

Vincent attends boarding school in Zevenbergen.

1866

Vincent attends Willem II College in Tilburg.

1869

Vincent starts working as a clerk for the art dealer Goupil & Cie in The Hague through family connections.

1873

Vincent transfers to the London office of Goupil; Theo joins Goupil in Brussels.

1874

From October to December, Vincent works at the head office of Goupil in Paris, and then returns to London.

1875

Vincent is again transferred to Goupil in Paris (against his wishes).

1876

In March, Vincent is dismissed from Goupil. Theo transfers to the Goupil office in The Hague. Vincent acquires an etching of Millet's Angelus and accepts a teaching post in Ramsgate, England. In December, he returns to Etten, where his family lives, in December.

1877

From January to April, Vincent works as a book clerk in Dordrecht. In May, he arrives in Amsterdam, stays with uncle, Jan van Gogh, a naval yard commander. There, he prepares for university studies for the ministry.

1878

In July, Vincent gives up his studies and returns to Etten. In August, he earns admission to a school of evangelism in Brussels, but he fails to obtain a post there. He leaves for the coal-mining area near Mons, known as Borinage, in Belgium, and teaches the Bible to the poor.

1879

He begins work as a missionary for six months in Wasmes.

1880

Vincent travels to Cuesmes, where he lives with a mining family, but then moves to Brussels to study perspective and anatomy. Theo supports him financially.

1881

April leaves Brussels to live in Etten. Vincent attempts to have a romantic relationship with his widowed cousin Kee Vos-Stricker, who spurns him. He quarrels with his family and leaves for The Hague around Christmas.

1882

Vincent studies with Anton Mauve, a cousin by marriage. He lives with Clasina Maria Hoornik ("Sien"). In August, his family moves to Nuen.

1883

In September, he leaves The Hague and Clasina and works alone in Drenthe. In December, Vincent returns to Nuen.

1884

Vincent begins using watercolors and studies of weavers. Vincent reads Delacroix on color. Theo joins Goupil in Paris.

1885

Vincent paints about 50 heads of peasants as studies for Potato Eaters. In November, he goes to Antwerp and acquires Japanese prints. His father dies in March.

1886

In January-March, Vincent studies art at Antwerp Academy. He moves to Paris and studies at Cormon studio. Vincent paints flowers influenced by Delacroix and Monticelli. He meets Impressionists.

1887

The Impressionists' palette influences his work. He collects Japanese prints.

Vincent exhibits in a working-class café.

1888

In February, Vincent goes to Arles. He lives at 2 Place Lamartine in the Yellow House. He visits Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Carmargue in June. On October 23, he was joined by Gauguin. Both artists visit Alfred Bruyas, Courbet's patron, in Montpellier in December. Their relationship deteriorates. Vincent mutilates his ear on December 23. Gauguin leaves immediately.

1889

Vincent lives in mental hospital and in the Yellow House at alternate intervals. He voluntarily enters the hospital in St. Rémy. Paul Signac comes to visit. Theo marries Johanna Bonger on April 17.

1890

On January 31, a son Vincent Willem is born to Theo and Johanna. Albert Aurier writes an article about Vincent's work. Vincent leaves the hospital in May. He briefly visits Paris.

He goes to Auvers-sur-Oise, less than 17 miles from Paris, to begin care under Dr. Paul Gachet, who was recommended by Camille Pissarro. Vincent shoots himself July 27 and dies two days later at age 37.

1891

January 25, Theo dies in Utrecht of syphilis.