The Tragic Loves of Van Gogh

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“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” 


~ Vincent van Gogh


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eugenie Loyer, Van Gogh's first love

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A very excited 20-year-old Vincent Van Gogh made his way to London where he would work with his brother Theo, selling art. Arriving, the Van Gogh brothers stayed in the house of the Loyer family - and it was Eugenie - the Loyer's favorite daughter, the one to captivate our young painter's heart.

The two love birds cultivated a majestic friendship, filling each other's days with long conversations, tea and a hundred sunsets until the time came when Vincent gathered the courage to confess his love.

Eugenie did not love him back, she was reserving herself for another man - desolated, Vincent returned to his parents' house.

 

Kee Stricker, the sad cousin Van Gogh loved

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A few years later, in 1881, Van Gogh's desire to live and paint was restored. But Vincent's luck in love was limited - unwittingly this lady healed the old wounds while opening a deeper one.

It was his very own cousin Kee Stricker, a woman crushed by the death of her husband - being her profound sorrow the one to bewitch Vincent onto her.

Vincent's delirium began when a freshly widowed Kee arrived along her 4-year-old son at the Van Gogh household in search of comfort. The fragility and the hopelessness reflected on her face fascinated Vincent from the very first moment - losing his mind to a degree of shouting love confessions from the rooftops.

Of course Vincent's family thought he had lost his mind while Kee, on her part, could not stand Vincent's insistence and left under the wish of never knowing about him or his family again.

The heartbroken man escaped to the Netherlands, striving to desert reality.

 

Sien the prostitute

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It became - at this point of his life - a routine habit for Vincent to lose himself in bars. It was on one of this visits to the tavern when he noticed an undernourished prostitute lying on the sidewalk. She was a pregnant and drunk.

Vincent extended his hand - without a second of hesitation - intending to save her from her misery. The lady said she had no name, so he called her Sien.

Once more Van Gogh fell madly in love. Although he was poor himself, Vincent took care of her and her pregnancy - later he took care of her baby, whom he loved and cherished as if he would be his own.

''He often sits with me in the studio on the floor in a corner, on a few sacks; he crows at the drawings and is always quiet, because he looks at the things on the wall. Oh, he is such a sociable and beautiful little fellow!''

Vincent wrote once to Theo, who couldn't help but being amazed by his brother's devotion.

Sien lived with the artist for more than a year and a half - a time marked by physical and emotional instability for both of them. She would eventually resume her old ways of alcoholism and prostitution. Issue which became unbearable for Vincent.

After understanding he couldn't save her, he left.

 Sien with Baby on her Lap - Vincent Van Gogh

Sien with Baby on her Lap - Vincent Van Gogh

 

Margot Begemann, a woman in love

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Did anyone ever really love Vincent Van Gogh?

Yes, Margot did. She was older and unattractive but Vincent was so lonely and hurt to have abandoned Sien, that he agreed to receive her attentions for the four months they stayed together. 

She proposed marriage, yet before he could consider it, Margot's family separated them in an attempt of protecting her from Van Gogh's reputation.

 

Agostina Segatori, The model

All, or almost all of Van Gogh's loves were documented in his paintings, but none inspired a more colorful image than Agostina Segatori, Van Gogh's last love. She was a famous model, with an exotic appearance - highly inclined to luxuries and excesses.

After a little while, Vincent ended overwhelmed with her opulent lifestyle and decided to leave her, finally closing his heart. After Agostina, it is said that he never fell in love again. 


“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” 
 ~ Vincent van Gogh

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