- Vincent Van Gogh The Successful Failure
Vincent Van Gogh The Successful Failure
Vincent Van Gogh The Successful Failure
Vincent Van Gogh: The Successful Failure
On March 30, 1852, Anna van Gogh and her husband, "The Handsome Pastor," (Theodorus van Gogh) gave birth to their first child. Alas, the child was born dead. The dead child was named Vincent. One year later to the exact day, Anna gave birth to yet another child. Her second child was named after the dead born child, Vincent. Vincent's early loneliness and isolation sprang from his mother. Anna refused to show acceptance or true warmth toward her son Vincent. Throughout Vincent's childhood he only found comfort in nature, the homes of peasants, and his loving younger brother, Theo.
Vincent lamented the rejection he suffered from his mother for the rest of his life. Vincent must have loved his mother, and so demonstrated this by going along with her dreams for him of becoming a young art dealer, contrary to his life's ambition of serving his fellow men as a preacher. At age sixteen, Vincent was given a job by his Uncle Vincent at a prosperous art gallery named Goupil's. Young Vincent's main regret in leaving the parsonage was that he would miss the company of his beloved brother, Theo.
At age twenty, Vincent fell in love with the big city of London. He moved to London where he continued his career as an art dealer at Goupil's London branch. Coincidentally, Vincent van Gogh also fell in love with a French girl named Ursula. At the age of twenty-one, after much deliberation, he confessed his love to her. He was coldly rejected. This was heartbreaking to Vincent, and his family worried about him frantically. Vincent had a growing hate toward his parents. This hate finally became evident when he rejected both his mother and father at yet another time when his mother had tried to interfere with his life.
Vincent van Gogh quit his employment at Goupil's after a violent fight with his manager. He pursued his life's dream as a preacher. Vincent got a job teaching Sunday school and occasionally giving sermons. This career did not last either, as he was wearing rags and beginning to starve from a lack of food and perhaps a lack of love. Vincent van Gogh went crawling back to his parents for support and a fresh start. Finally, his Uncle Vincent gave him another job--this time as a book salesman. He again failed to succeed and was terminated by his manager. He then went in to the ministry for two years of training. He struggled through the first year, and was dismissed by his teachers. A final turn from all his failures came when Vincent became a preacher in a very poor mining town. He was well liked and accepted, but this was only temporary. The ministry dismissed him of his servitude.
It is not understandable how a man of such disposition can find the motivation to live on and press forward with life after so many failures. This luckless artist finally made a concrete decision. He would master the art of painting and hopefully make enough money to support himself. In his living career as an artist, Vincent sold only one painting. As he had many times before, Vincent ran out of money and fell back to live with his parents.
Vincent had no luck with courting females. He had even managed to be rejected by a low-life woman he housed from off the streets. However, Vincent finally found true love. Margot could understand and accept Vincent for who he was. They agreed to marry. They were perfect for each other. Of course something had to give way. Her father disliked Vincent and confined the forty year old Margot to her home. Vincent and Margot never saw each other again.
Vincent's main theme was to draw things as they appeared. This theme prohibited Vincent from succeeding in several art schools he attended. He either quit or was kicked out of all of them. Vincent's unstable personality always caused him to lose his friends and what little respect he had worked so hard to get. Everyone looked at him with distaste, fear, and some with vengeance.
Vincent's unsuccessful and morbid life finally drove him to madness. He mutilated his ear with a razor and gave the pieces to a girl of the town whom he knew vaguely, tightly packed into an envelope. Possibly because he was in despair from driving off his live-in artist and idol, Gauguin.
Vincent went in and out of many mental hospitals and institutions. In 1889, the thirty-six year old Vincent van Gogh said, "I am not fit to govern myself or my affairs." He voluntarily entered an asylum.
Three months later Vincent wandered into a field and shot himself in the stomach with his revolver in a suicidal effort to end his suffering. He had failed once again. The next morning the thirty-seven year old artist opened his eyes and said, "I wish I could die." A few moments later his prayers were answered and he was dead. It was a hard death to end so hard a life.
The Author, Alan Honour, expresses his prejudices in this biography to profoundly express the dreadful suffering endured by Vincent van Gogh. Alan Honour does not exemplify any glory or successful achievements endured by Vincent. He only over-glorifies the depression suffered by van Gogh. Throughout the biography, the author repetitively describes how ugly Vincent is. This seems to be Honour's way of supporting his belief that Vincent van Gogh was a suffering soul. Anything Alan Honour produced of a positive fashion or trait of Vincent was abruptly cut short, while his negative traits were expressed extensively. This supports my theory that the author is in favor of romanticizing Vincent's tormented soul. The theme of this biography revolves around the multitude of Vincent van Gogh's many failures. Each and every incident van Gogh is involved in seemingly results in failure. In this biography, poor van Gogh fails at everything he attempts. He even fails at suicide. Any friends he made were quickly lost due to his vicious opinions and temper. He failed at selling his paintings, at becoming a preacher, at romantic relationships, at parental relations, at keeping good health, at social relations, at art school, at employment, and at self-worth. Perhaps this tormented genius was only successful at one thing: Failure.