Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 in Groot-Zundert in the Netherlands. In 1869 he began an apprenticeship in the art trade in The Hague, and until 1876 he also worked in London, Brussels and Paris. He later worked as a substitute teacher and preacher in England and briefly studied theology. At the age of twenty-five he trained as a lay preacher and had his own pulpit in Borinage, in southern Belgium. In 1880 van Gogh finally decided to become a painter, and returned home to his parents, then in Etten. After sojourns in The Hague and in the province of Drenthe he once again returned to his parents, now living in Nuenen. In 1886 he moved to Paris, where his brother Theo was working as an art dealer. Theo put him in contact with the major representatives of Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, and van Gogh developed a close friendship with Paul Gauguin. In 1888 he moved to Arles in the south of France, where Gauguin visited him at the end of the year. The artists’ association van Gogh longed for did not last long. He suffered a severe nervous breakdown and on the night of 23 December cut off part of his ear. After further attacks he checked himself into a psychiatric hospital near Saint-Rémy. In 1890 he moved to Auvers-sur-Oise to seek treatment from the doctor Paul Gachet. Meanwhile, the only van Gogh painting sold in his lifetime was purchased. On 27 July 1890 van Gogh shot himself. He died two days later.