Van Gogh Walk, SW9

Place Name

Originally Isbael Street. Vincent Willem Van Gogh (March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who became one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. As a young man he worked for an art dealer and was transferred to London, where he resided nearby at 87 Hackford Road, Stockwell, which he moved to in August 1873. He was successful at work and, at 20, was earning more than his father, who was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. It was during this time that he became infatuated with his landlady’s daughter, Eugénie Loyer, but she rejected him after confessing his feelings; she was secretly engaged to a former lodger. He grew more isolated and religiously fervent. His father and uncle arranged a transfer to Paris in 1875. He later returned to England to take up a position as a supply teacher in a small boarding school in Ramsgate. When the proprietor moved to Isleworth, he went with him – and later became involved as a lay preacher at a local church. Van Gogh only discovered his own art much later, although he had always drawn, after he failed entrance exams to follow a religious career as a minister and a missionary. He remained tortured in his personal life, struggling to form relationships but his art continued to take new directions. By 1883 he had started painting, and in 1885 enrolled at the academy in Antwerp where he was impressed by Japanese prints and by the work of Rubens. On his return to Paris in 1886 he met artists such as Degas, Gauguin and Seurat, and as a result lightened the colours he used. In 1888 Van Gogh, who suffered from a smokers’ cough, settled in Arles in Provence, where he was visited by Gauguin and painted his now famous series of Sunflowers. In the following year a nervous breakdown brought him to a sanatorium at St Remy; it was at this period that he executed A Wheatfield, with Cypresses. In 1890, suffering from a new bout of depression, he shot himself in the chest and died two days later. The road itself was formally opened on March 30, 2013 – to mark the 160th anniversary of Van Gogh’s birth.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *