Van Gogh’s first steps as an artist


Pink peach trees (‘Souvenir de Mauve’) – Vincent Van Gogh, circa 30 Mar 1888, oil on canvas. This is one of the first paintings he made after moving to Paris

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) might be one of the most famous artists in the world. He was born in 1853 in the Netherlands. After having done different jobs he decided to become an artist at the age of 27. Van Gogh took painting lessons in The Hague from a cousin by marriage, artist Anton Mauve.

Van Gogh’s early drawings and paintings can now be seen at the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. The expo ‘The Early Van Gogh – work against indifference‘ showcases 120 works from the museums’ collection from the period 1880-1885. The works clearly show how Van Gogh’s artistry develops in his early Dutch period. It reveals his fanatical practising to improve his drawing technique and to create art that in his own words ‘wells up from a deeper source in our soul’.


Man seen from the back and studies of hands – Vincent Van Gogh, May-Jun 1885, chalk on paper


Reaper – Vincent Van Gogh, Jul-Aug 1885, chalk on paper


Man with broom – Vincent Van Gogh, Oct 1881, chalk, charcoal, watercolour on paper





Boy with a sickle – Vincent Van Gogh, Oct-Nov 1881, chalk, charcoal, watercolour on paper


Carpenter’s yard and laundry – Vincent Van Gogh, May 1882, pencil, chalk, ink, watercolour on paper


Weaver in front of his loom – Vincent Van Gogh, May-Jun 1884, pencil, ink, watercolour on paper


Peasant woman cleaning a pot – Vincent Van Gogh, Jul-Aug 1885, chalk on paper

After his father died in 1885 he started working on the famous painting ‘The Potato Eaters‘. Later that year he decided to enrol at the academy of art in Antwerp and from there he moved to Paris.
The works he produced in France until his death can be seen in museums all over the world but for his very first drawings and paintings you have to go to the beautiful Kröller-Müller Museum.
And while you’re there grab one of the free white bikes and enjoy the surrounding Veluwe National Park with all your senses.



Exhibition view ‘The Early Van Gogh’ – Kröller-Müller Museum, The Netherlands

Tip: The website of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is a great resource if you want to read more on Van Gogh.