Life and work

The journey of Vincent's life through Brabant

Brabant is a must-visit destination for anyone with an interest in Vincent's life and work. He spent most of his life in Brabant, and it helped to shape him as a person and as a painter. He was always nostalgic about Brabant, the place where his deep affection for nature and rural life was born.


1575: Family history

The family tree of the Vincent van Gogh family starts with Jan van Gogh and Jannetje den Meer, in 1575 in the vicinity of Den Haag.

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1822-1874: Grandfather Vincent Van Gogh

Breda: Vincents grandfather, who came from an art loving family from De Hague, was a preacher of the Grote Kerk and the Koninklijke Militaire Academie. 

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1849-1871: The Reformed Church

Zundert: Vincent grew up as the son of the minister Theodorus van Gogh, who preaced in this church in Zundert.

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1852: Vincent’s brother’s grave

Zundert: The grave of Vincent’s oldest brother who was stillborn can still be seen in the graveyard.


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1853: Birthplace Vincent van Gogh

Zundert: On March 30rd 1853 Vincent van Gogh was born in Zundert.

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1853-1869: Zundert residents remember Van Gogh

Zundert: The old village school was formerly situated on the corner of the market place, opposite Hotel de Roskam. Vincent received lessons there from January to October 1861.


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1853-1869: Memories of sister Lies

Zundert: In 1910 Vincent’s sister Lies wrote some romanticised memoirs of her brother and their childhood in Zundert.

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1864-1866: The Jan Provily boarding school

Zevenbergen: The Jan Provily boarding school, in Zundert, for boys was formerly housed in this building.

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1866-1868: Vincent’s Art Room

Tilburg: The High School was housed in the former town palace of Willem II in 1866. Vincent received lessons here from one of the best drawing teachers of the time: Constant Cornelis Huijsmans.

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1866-1868: Family Hannik’s boarding house

Tilburg: At this location on Korvel 57, there once stood the house of the Chief Customs Officer for Taxes, Jan Hannik and his wife Adriana van der Griend. Vincent lodged here

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1871-1875: Family Van Gogh in Helvoirt

Helvoirt: Vincent never lived in Helvoirt. He had left the parental home two years earlier.

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Huize Mertersem in Breda. Woonhhuis oom Cent van Vincent van Gogh

1872-1888: Villa Mertersem, Uncle Cent’s house

Breda: Vincent’s rich godfather, the art dealer Vincent van Gogh, who for health reasons had returned from his busy commercial life in Paris, lived in this villa.

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1881: The start of a career as an artist

Etten-Leur:  After several relations Vincent decided to become an artist and returned to his parental home in Etten.

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1881: Conflict with father

Etten-Leur:  Vincent felt misunderstood by his parents- a well known phenomenon.

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1881: Vincent's Models

Etten-Leur: Vincent looked close to home for his models.

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1881: Kee Vos

Etten-Leur: In the summer of 1881 Vincents' cousin Kee Vos lodged at the presbytery. Vincent fell madly in love with her.

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1881: Pollard Willows

Etten-Leur: In Etten Vincent discovered the Pollard Willows.

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1881: De IJzeren Pot

Etten-Leur: Vincent often visited the farm "Boerderij D'n IJzeren Pot", where Piet Kaufmann lived with his mother and his younger sister. 

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1882-1885: The minister and the painter

Nuenen: Vincent painted this church as a present for his mother

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1882-1885: Family Van Gogh in Nuenen

Nuenen: The family Van Gogh lived here from 1882 to 1885, Vincent from December 1883 to May 1884.

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1883-1885: A studio in the washhouse

Nuenen: After a stay of three months in Drenthe, at the end of 1883 Vincent took the train to Nuenen where his father had been a minister since 1882.

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Het woonhuis van Antoon Hermans (Rechts naast Antiquariaat Dirven)

1883-1885: Antoon Hermans’s house

Eindhoven: This house was built by Pierre Cuypers on behalf of the retired goldsmith Antoon Hermans. Vincent gave painting lessons in the house of this amateur painter.

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Van Gogh, St. Clemenskerk Gerwen, 1883-84 VGM Amsterdam

1883: St. Clemenskerk

Gerwen: Vincent van Gogh drew the St. Clemenskerk in Gerwen in December 1883.

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1883-1885: Walking to Eindhoven

Eindhoven: Vincent made regular trips to Eindhoven.

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Van Gogh, Wever voor getouw, werk uit 1884. Nuenen.

1883-1885: Weavers' cottage

Nuenen: Only one of the many weavers’ cottages which abounded in Nuenen during Van Gogh’s time still remains. It was built in 1763 and is now a listed building.

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1883-1885: The old cemetery, father Van Gogh’s grave

Nuenen: We now look out over meadows but Vincent would have seen the old tower of the 15th century church with its graveyard.

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1883-1885: Opwettense water mill

Nuenen: The artist Anthon van Rappard, whom Vincent had met in Brussels in 1880 visited Van Gogh several times when he was living and working in Nuenen. They went out painting together.

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De woning van Koster Schafrat waar Vincent atelier had

1884-1885: Verger Schafrat’s house, Vincent’s studio

Nuenen: From May 1884 Vincent rented a studio from the Catholic verger Johannes Schafrat at what was then the Heieind 540. This space was more suitable for working with models.

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1884: infatuated with Margot Begemann

Nuenen: The Begemann family lived in Huis Nuneville. Vincent and Margot fell in love with each other.

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Willem van de Wakker (1859 - 1927) Amateurschilder en leerling van Vincent

1884-1891: Willem van de Wakker

Eindhoven:  As an amateur painter Willem van de Wakker had lessons from Vincent.

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Van Gogh, De hut, 1885 VGM Amsterdam

1884: Rural village at night

Het Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch: The thatched peasants’ houses in Nuenen and the surrounding area reminded Van Gogh think about the Brabant of his youth.

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Verfhandel Baijens. Op de foto het pand van Baijens omstreeks 1920.

1884-1885: Baijens’ paint shop

Eindhoven: Jan Baijens (1838-1914) owned a paint shop which was located on the Rechtestraat C265 (now number 18).

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1884-1885: The Roosdonck windmill

Nuenen: This windmill was built and commissioned during the period that Vincent was living and working in Nuenen.

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Van Gogh, Spittende boerin, 1885

1885: Peasant woman digging

Het Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch: Figure studies of peasants working in the fields symbolized for Vincent the unity of people with nature.

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Van Gogh, Korenveld met schoven en een molen, 1885, VGM Amsterdam

1885: Molen De Vogelenzang

Lieshout: During his stay in Nuenen Vincent often went out. 

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1885: The Potato Eaters House

Nuenen: In Vincent’s time a farmhouse belonging to the De Groot family stood here. Vincent made a painting of the farmhouse and the family posed as models for countless studies of peasant’s faces and hands.

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Van Gogh, De aardappeleters, 1885, litho, VGM Amsterdam

1885: Stone printer Gestel

Eindhoven: The Gestel stone printer was located behind the family Gestel’s home on Lange Dijk 8 (now called Vestdijk). Vincent visited the stone printer often to buy printing ink, which he used to darken his paint.

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Van Gogh, landschap met knotberken, 1884 Privécollectie (uit de Bredase kisten)

1888-1889: Mother and Willemien van Gogh’s house

Breda: From 1888 till 1889 Vincents' mom and his youngest sister Willemien lived on the Haagdijk in Breda.

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