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Van Gogh in numbers: the earliest drawing, the most successful bargain, the most famous bouquet

It is rather difficult to transform the life of Vincent van Gogh into a column of figures without digging into his chronological biography. This is especially true of his work. Two world wars and the unrecognition of the artist’s talent during his life caused the destruction and loss of many of Van Gogh’s works, therefore his creative heritage can only be described with reservations. As for his personal life, it is even sadder: no marriage, no children, and almost complete absence of any serious relationships. But we still managed to interpret some of his facts into mathematics.
The 1st child in the family of the young pastor Theodore van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus was born on 30 March 1852. Unfortunately, the baby lived only a few days, which was enough to give the baby the name Vincent. The famous artist Vincent Willem van Gogh was born exactly one year after his older brother.

Van Gogh flawlessly knew 4 languages (and he even taught some of them): Dutch, English, French and German.

Vincent van Gogh. The potato eaters
The potato eaters
May 1885, 81×114 cm
Vincent was 32 years old when he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters painting.

It took 3 days for Van Gogh to walk about 100 miles from London to Ramsgate, where he got his job of a school teacher.

850 paintings (at least) and about 1300 drawings were created by Van Gogh in 10 years of his artistic career.

Vincent was 27 years old when he decided to devote his life to painting; until then he had worked as an art dealer, a teacher, a librarian and a missionary.

For 2 months, Van Gogh studied painting at the Antwerp Academy of Arts.

Vincent van Gogh. Red Vineyards at Arles
Red Vineyards at Arles
November 1888, 73×91 cm
Vincent was paid 400 francs for his Red Vineyards in Arles painting (about $ 1,000 in today’s money). It is believed that this is the only canvas sold by the artist during his lifetime. However, there are documents on the sale of at least 13 more works, and the Red Vineyards were the first picture that brought Van Gogh a substantial profit. In fact, back in 1882, in one of his letters, Vincent reported to Theo: "The first sheep passed through the bridge".

In 17 cities of the Netherlands, England, France and Belgium Van Gogh managed to live for 37 years of his life.

Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait with bandaged ear and pipe
Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait
September 1889, 65×54 cm
Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait in a gray felt hat
October 1887, 44.5×37.2 cm
35 self-portraits by Vincent, painted within 4 years, can be seen on Arthive.

30 people caused the departure of Van Gogh from Arles. These people signed a petition to expel the artist from the city because of his immoral and antisocial behaviour.

2 years exactly lived Vincent in Paris. During this time he painted about 230 paintings.

15 sunflowers are depicted in one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. He made several copies of this picture; in fact, the artist created a huge number of still lifes with sunflowers during his life in Arles. But, contrary to popular belief, it was not his favourite plant at all. Most of all, the artist loved ivy. And sunflowers attracted him due to his addiction to yellow.

10 years old was Vincent when he created his first drawing that has survived to this day. It depicts a detailed column pilaster.

Japanese tycoon Ryoei Saito paid 82.5 million dollars in 1990 for the Portrait of Dr. Gachet, which was painted a hundred years earlier. According to some reports, he bequeathed to cremate the canvas with his own body after his death. However, in 1996, when Saito passed away, the painting was sold to an unknown person. For 15 years, the Portrait of Dr. Gachet topped the list of the most expensive paintings in the world (among the auctioned ones).

800 odd letters were written by Van Gogh during his life. Most of them were addressed to Theo, the artist’s brother.
Vincent van Gogh. Wheat field with crows
Wheat field with crows
July 1890, 50.5×103 cm
For 29 hours lived Vincent with a bullet in his chest. On 27 July 1890 the artist shot himself in the heart on a wheat field and walked home. He died of blood loss at 1:30 am, on 29 July, remaining conscious until the last breath.

6 months after the Van Gogh’s death, his younger brother Theo passed away.

25 years after the death of both brothers, the Theo’s widow Johanna published letters from Vincent. The same year, she transported Theo’s remains to Auvers-sur-Oise, where he was buried next to his brother. Johanna planted ivy on their graves.

In 1973, the Vincent van Gogh Museum was opened in Amsterdam. The founder of the museum was Theo’s only son, engineer Vincent Willem van Gogh. Now about 200 paintings, more than 500 drawings and about 800 letters by Vincent are stored there.
Title illustration: Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait in Front of the Easel, 1887.

Author: Yevheniia Sidelnikova