Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers — Someday My Printz Will Come
Editorial Reviews. Review. Printz Honor Book YALSA Nonfiction Award Winner SCBWI Golden impressionistic portrait of the relationship of artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo thorough familiarity with Art > Biographies; #15 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Social Issues > Family. Theo was told, at first in passing but then in more detail, about the difficulties Vincent . a threat to the roof over his head as well as to his relationship with Theo. Read the story and discover the special relationship between Vincent and his brother Theo. On Theo's advice, he finally decided to become an artist.
He no longer shrank from speaking of his dejected moods, or from criticizing artists or circumstances, or speaking of his happiness or satisfaction — although that was rare. Everything revolved around achieving his artistic goals, around his drawings and paintings. He did not have many close friends, and few other social contacts.
He worked as an autodidact, following his own programme. In this area, the letters — and not just those to Theo but to artist friends like Van RappardGauguin and Bernard as well — provide us with an incredible amount of information that makes it possible to see how he developed as an artist: This list is both arbitrary and incomplete; its only purpose is to illustrate that the letters contain an unparalleled wealth of information and opinions.
On the other hand, on close inspection one sees that the outside world, the practicalities of life and personal contacts are secondary. In addition he regularly had his hands full with those around him, so that despite his egocentricity the letters nevertheless have a lot of life in them.
Moreover, he was able to describe things in a lively and original way, and his insights and opinions are often interesting enough. See, for example, Hulskerp. Daily life is largely invisible in the correspondence, with the result that we do not know how Van Gogh organized his day, what or where he usually ate, where he met the people he mentions in his letters, what living conditions were like with his parents in Etten and Nuenen, what he did with his personal possessions when the time came for yet another move, how he acquired the hundreds of books that he mentions in the letters, and many times that number which he must have read but which remain unmentioned.
And although he wrote so much about the practical side of his drawing and painting, we are told relatively little about the suppliers of his materials, for example. For instance, we learn quite a lot about the difficulties he encountered when he fell in love with his cousin Kee Vos in the summer ofbut that is because it caused turmoil throughout the entire family and posed a threat to the roof over his head as well as to his relationship with Theo.
Something similar happened with Sien Hoornikthe prostitute with whom he lived in The Hague. He only confessed the truth to Theo when he ran into opposition from his acquaintances there, above all from the celebrated Hague School painter and his cousin by marriage Anton Mauveand H.
Theo was in direct contact with them, and could have found himself in a difficult position with the latter if his brother brought shame on the family. He did tell Theo about the venereal disease he caught in the summer ofbut then that had repercussions for his artistic output. In Antwerp he found himself in urgent need of dental treatment, but it is doubtful whether he would have found that worth mentioning to Theo if it had not cost so much money, which naturally had to be paid out of his budget for materials and thus had to be made up by Theo.
The tone is more defensive in the Dutch period, or Vincent tries to vindicate the choices he had made. See letterfor example.
This was done so pointedly that it may well have been part of the agreement between them. See Dornp.
And the practical, financial agreements between the brothers do not alter the fact that the letters were also clearly written out of a simple human need for communication, a need to exchange ideas and feelings with a kindred spirit.
He visited museums, read about art and artists, and collected reproductions. He did so with an intensity and dedication that show that this was more than an ordinary interest. Art met an essential need in his life. He did not just admire paintings; he drew a vital spiritual or intellectual force from them.
Biographical & historical context - Vincent van Gogh Letters
As a result, he had deep respect for the artists behind the works. He regularly defended his behaviour or views by referring to admired artists who had done or said something similar. They served, without any reservation, as practical and moral role models.
In the first two letters, which were addressed to Theo, there is as yet no trace of this craving for art. At first it was above all because they both worked for the same firm, but soon, and certainly from the time of his transfer to London in Junehe says more and more about what he has seen and admired. The letters were a way of sharing that, although it should be added that Van Gogh was not yet capable of backing his opinions with arguments.
His enthusiasm can be deduced from the fact that he was continually raising the subject himself, and that it often involved all sorts of things at once, as in his letter of January There then follow no fewer than 61 names of living artists, mainly French, Belgian and Dutch.
At first his preferences were not very personal. Apart from Manetabout whom he had a vague idea, as shown by lettersandhe would only get to know the work of the later Impressionists during his stay in Paris.
His growing preoccupation with religion in diverted his attention from art a little, and his opinions became based more on morals and ethics. He was himself in search of devout wisdom and manly maturity, and he tended to judge art and literature from this idealistic standpoint.
I know that Uncle Vincent and Cor like it very much, and I sometimes think that they must have looked like that when they were younger. Here one begins to hear a stronger view, and although admittedly it was influenced by impersonal Christian values that he had not formulated himself, it was his own conscious choice to uphold them.
The years prior to had a formative influence on Van Gogh the artist. His admiration for the work of Milletfor example, was not just aroused when he made drawn copies after The sower during his earliest exercises in Etten. He had sung his praises for years, and in Paris in he had gone to a large exhibition of drawings and pastels by Millet, who had just died.
This prompted the following outpouring: One crucial event was his discovery in March of the biography of Millet by Alfred Sensier. In January he could again heave a sigh: That fellow, so wise, so moved, does the countryside in such a way that even in town one continues to feel it. See Jansen for the significance of consolation for Van Gogh. His opinion of them changed in the autumn of when he visited the newly opened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
There he viewed the works of RembrandtFrans Hals and many others through fresh eyes, and it stimulated him to think again about colour and visible brushwork. The most recent publication on this is cat. Keen as he was on self-development and expanding his knowledge, he had been reading the main art periodicals for years, such as the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, which he urged on Theo in a passage which unintentionally reveals a lot about his own approach.
It crops up again in a letter written 15 years later. From Arles, Van Gogh conducted a debate with Emile Bernard about the direction modern painting should take. Bernard argued the case of the primitives, but Van Gogh held up the seventeenth-century Dutch masters as the example to be followed.
7 Things You May Not Know About Vincent Van Gogh
He complimented Bernard on a portrait of his grandmother that he had painted the previous year: There are more than 1, prints from the family collection in the Van Gogh Museum.
Much of it consisted of contemporary art often by artists in whom Goupil itself dealtbut there were also series with art by the old masters. Paul Getty Museum, which bought it for an undisclosed amount. He never married or had children.
A van Gogh painting of Agostina Segatori. Van Gogh was unlucky in love. In the early s, when he was starting out as an artist and living with his parents in the Netherlands, he fell in love with his widowed cousin, Kee Vos-Stricker. Next, he became involved with a woman named Sien Hoornik, a former prostitute who served as his model and also had young children.
Later, while still residing in the Netherlands, he had a relationship with an older neighbor, Margot Begemann, who attempted to kill herself because her family opposed the match.
His decision to become an artist was largely due to Theo. That it was Theo who persuaded his brother to become an artist must have had a great influence on their subsequent relationship, for he must have felt that he was obliged to support Vincent in his endeavours, financially as well.
This total of around 17, francs can only be an estimate, since not all the payments are documented. For example, we know hardly anything about the Paris period.
The brothers lived together from March to Februaryso there were no extra expenses for rent. We have assumed that Theo spent an average of around francs a month on Vincent. Nor is it possible to discover what extra sums Vincent received over and above his remittance: Theo probably gave him those extra amounts during his regular visits to Holland.
Vincent was aware that Theo had made quite a large investment in him over the years, for in July he made a very realistic estimate of the total he had received: So Vincent regarded the money he had recived as an advance, and he must have thought that at some stage he would find buyers for his work.
The contract between Boussod et Valadon and Theo, which was drawn up on 22 August but backdated to take effect from 1 Januaryshows that he had a basic salary of 4, francs a year. This was supplemented with a bonus of 7. See Account book Inin any event, he received his basic salary in more or less monthly instalments of The annual profit-sharing was arrived at after the inventory was drawn up in January the following year, and was made available between April and June.
It emerges from the accounts receivable that he received a respectable share of the profits amounting to 7, francs in8, in6, in9, in7, in9, in6, in and 8, in The sums are rounded to the nearest franc. The average of these bonuses is 8, francs, and with his basic salary on top he earned around 12, francs a year, of which Vincent received an average of 1, francs. This means that Theo spent roughly However, Theo did not just support himself and Vincent from the average of 1, francs a month that he earned.
He also sent money home to his parents, and thus contributed to the upbringing of his sister Willemien and his brother Cor. And when he fell in love with Marie inhe also started supporting her. His parents were very pleased with this gesture: Later money also had to be spent on his wife Jo and the infant Vincent Willem. Theo continued supporting his elder brother generously. In October he wrote: I know nothing of that.
I must work to earn money. Letters and In April Vincent felt that his best paintings were worth 1, francs each letter In his salary was 50 guilders a month, or roughly francs. By way of comparison, Theo, who was four years younger, was paid 38 guilders a month in Both brothers were soon making over part of their salaries to their parents.