Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh's famously tormented life came to an end in July 1890, two days after a self-inflicted gun wound. Two years before that, in an eerily prescient comment, he wrote, "A lot of money is paid for a painter's work once he's dead." This has proved to be dramatically so in the case of Van Gogh himself whose works, which found no buyers in his lifetime, now change hands for tens of millions of pounds.
As a young man, Van Gogh spent some time in London. He arrived first in June 1873 and stayed for more than a year, working as an assistant at the international art dealers Goupil and Co. It was during this period that he lodged in Hackford Road, Vauxhall with a Mrs Loyer. He fell in love with his landlady's daughter and was much hurt when she rejected him.
After a period with Goupil's in Paris, Van Gogh returned to England in the spring of 1876 and, after teaching in Ramsgate, lived and worked in Isleworth in Middlesex where a local clergyman employed him as an occasional teacher and preacher.
Van Gogh went back to Holland in January 1877 to study theology and it was not until the early 1880s that he began to work on his painting in earnest. In 1886 he moved to Paris and came to know artists like Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin but the depression that had haunted him all his life overtook him. He spent time in a mental asylum in the south of France and was under the care of a psychiatrist called Paul Gachet, subject of one of his most famous portraits, when he finally ended his life.
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