Trivia

by Frances Billano

This chapter is a free excerpt from Biography of Van Gogh.

  • Vincent van Gogh managed to sell only one major painting in his lifetime: The Red Vineyard (1888), which he painted during the short time he and Gaugain were living together in Arles.

  • Aside from his native Dutch language, Van Gogh could read and speak French, German, and English.


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  • Vincent van Gogh managed to sell only one major painting in his lifetime: The Red Vineyard (1888), which he painted during the short time he and Gaugain were living together in Arles.

  • Aside from his native Dutch language, Van Gogh could read and speak French, German, and English.

  • Van Gogh was a literary bookworm. Among his favorite English language writers were Charles Dickens, George Eliot, John Keats, and William Shakespeare. He also loved reading the works of French writer Émile François Zola.

  • The song “Vincent” (Starry Starry Night) by American singer-songwriter Don McLean is an homage to the painter. In 2010, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam created a time capsule in its grounds which includes a set of Van Gogh’s brushes and music sheets for the song (The Telegraph, Don McLean Interview).

  • The Van Gogh family still exists. Theo van Gogh’s descendants have continued their affinity for the arts and freedom of expression. A few of them have paid dearly for it. One of them was Theo van Gogh, a controversial filmmaker regarded as the Netherlands’ Michael Moore. He made a protest film about domestic violence in Islam featuring women in see-through robes, showing their bare bodies covered with painted-on texts from the Koran. Van Gogh received death threats due to this, and was eventually murdered by an Islamist assassin in 2004 (BBC News, Life of Slain Dutch Filmmaker).

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