Theodorus van Gogh (1857 - 1891)

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Nicknames: "Theo"
Birthplace: Groot-Zundert, Netherlands
Death: Died in Utrecht, Netherlands
Occupation: Art dealer in Paris
Managed by: Liz B.
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About Theodorus van Gogh

Theodorus "Theo" van Gogh was a Dutch art dealer. He was the younger brother of Vincent van Gogh, and Theo's unfailing financial support allowed his brother to devote himself entirely to painting. Theo died at the age of 33, several months after Vincent had died at the age of 37.

He was born in the village Groot-Zundert in the province of Brabant, Netherlands to Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. His elder brother was Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), who later became a famous painter.

Van Gogh worked for some years at the Dutch (The Hague) office of the Parisian art dealers Goupil & Cie, and Theo joined the Brussels office on 1 January 1873 as their youngest employee. After Vincent was transferred to the London office, Theo moved to the office in The Hague, where he developed into a successful art dealer. By 1884, he was transferred to the Paris main office. Starting in the winter of 1880–1881, he sent painting materials as well as monthly financial support to Vincent, who was living back in the Netherlands.

In Paris, Theo met Andries Bonger and his sister Johanna, whom he married in Amsterdam on 17 April 1889. The couple lived in Paris, where on 31 January 1890 their son Vincent Willem was born. On 8 June, the family visited Vincent, who was living near Paris in Auvers-sur-Oise. Vincent died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in July 1890 at the age of 37 and Theo died in January 1891 at the age of 33, apparently of dementia paralytica, the last stage of syphilis.

Theo van Gogh's great-grandson, also named Theo van Gogh, was a film director, famous for his controversial criticism of Islam. He was murdered by a Dutch-Moroccan in 2004, at the age of 47.

He admired his elder brother Vincent for his whole life. But communicating with him proved to be difficult, even before Vincent opted to follow his artistic vocation. The communication between both brothers suffered from diverging definitions of standards, and it was evidently Theo who kept on writing letters. Therefore, mostly Vincent's answers survived and little of Theo's input. Theo was often concerned about Vincent's mental condition and he was amongst the few who understood his brother.

Theo was instrumental in the popularity of Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas by persuading his employers, Goupil & Cie, to exhibit and buy their works. On demand only, Theo seems to have shown Vincent's paintings, but evidently, a loyal apprentice of Goupil & Cie, he never sold one of them.

The two brothers maintained an intensive correspondence with Theo often encouraging his depressed brother. These letters have been collected and published into books, as revealing of the artist's mind and nature.

The relationship between the two brothers was the subject of the movie Vincent & Theo (1990), directed by Robert Altman.

In 1886, he invited Vincent to come and live with him, and from March of that year they shared a house in Montmartre. Theo introduced Vincent to Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat, and in 1888 he persuaded Gauguin to join Vincent, who had moved to Arles in the meantime.

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Theodorus van Gogh's Timeline

1857
May 1, 1857
Groot-Zundert, Netherlands
1889
April 1, 1889
Age 31
Amsterdam, Government of Amsterdam, North Holland, The Netherlands
1890
January 31, 1890
Age 32
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
1891
January 25, 1891
Age 33
Utrecht, Netherlands