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Vincent Van Gogh Although he is almost unknown during his brief lifetime Vincent Willem van Gogh was born Mar 30 1853 in Groot-Zundert the Netherlands and is today probably the most known and appreciated representative of art His work became an important bridge between the 19th and 20th centuries and it was particularly influential Van Gogh clearly showed artistic talent even as a child but neither he or his family imagined that painting would become his career Instead at the age of 16 he went to work for Goupil and Company an art gallery with which one of his uncles had long been associated with he was dismissed in 1876 Other false starts included a job in a Dordrecht bookstore during the spring of 1877 theological studies at the University of Amsterdam and from November 1878 to July 1879 service as a lay missionary in a coal-mining district in Belgium In 1880 Vincent chose art as a vocation and became dependent on his brother for cash Indeed for the next 10 years Theo who had also gone to work for Goupil sent an allowance to Vincent encouraged him to work and wrote regularly Vincents thinking during his short career approximately 750 paintings 1600 drawings 9 lithographs and 1 etching was documented in more than 700 letters that he wrote to Theo and others Van Goghs early years includes all his work from 1879 through 1885 Between August 1879 and November 1885 he worked in Etten The Hague--where he received some instruction from his cousin Anton Mauve and in Nuenen among other places In Nuenen he painted The Potato Eaters his first important picture which underscores his lifelong interest in peasant subjects During the winter of 1885-86 Van Gogh studied at the academy in Antwerp where he was forced to draw from plaster casts and to adopt academic principles that did not suit him He moved to Paris where he
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