Amazing Facts About Vincent Van Gogh

By | November 16, 2022

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Vincent van Gogh in 1873, when he worked at the Goupil & Cie gallery in the Hague. (Van Gogh Museum/Wikimedia Commons)

He Never Saw His Success

As with many artistic greats, Vincent Van Gogh's work was not given much respect until years after his death. You'd think having a brother who was a professional art dealer would do your career wonders, but though Theodore Van Gogh was a loving and ardent supporter, both emotionally and financially, of his elder brother, he never bagged any buyers for his pieces. In his lifetime, Van Gogh only saw one of his works bought, a 1888 painting called The Red Vineyard Near Aries, which went for 400 francs or about two grand in today's money. Nowadays, his works sell for millions, with The Portrait Of Dr. Gachet going for $83 million back in 1990. His most famous masterpiece, Starry Night, may be insured for over $100 million, but many in the art world and public alike argue that the work is indeed priceless.  

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Starry Night. (Museum of Modern Art/Wikimedia Commons)

Yes, He Did Cut Off His Ear

But certainly not all of it. There are many, many different versions of exactly what went down between Van Gogh and his ill-fated earlobe on that winter day in 1888, but the most likely story is that after a fight with fellow painter Paul Gaugin, Van Gogh suffered some kind of breakdown that led him to slice off the lower portion of his ear with a razor blade. He then famously offered the hunk of flesh to a worker at a local brothel, though who exactly this woman was has never been confirmed by historians despite ample speculation and research. What is known, though, is that this breakdown eventually led to his year-long stay at the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence asylum where he created many of his most celebrated works.