Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Zundert in Brabant, where his father was a pastor. His uncles were art dealers and Vincent began his career working for them. After several years in the art trade, he worked as a lay preacher in England and later devoted time to missionary work in Belgium. In 1880, he resolved to become an artist. At The Hague and Nuenen he painted still lifes, landscapes and scenes from village life in sombre colours.
After a short period of study in Antwerp, Van Gogh moved to Paris. Influenced by Impressionism and Pointillism, he developed his characteristic style of separate streaks of paint and clear, vivid colours. In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles in the South of France. Mental illness led to several periods in hospital. Between these crises he continued to paint feverishly, until his death in 1890.