discover the places where Vincent lived and worked

Brussels, Belgium

  • November 13, 1878
  • April 17, 1881 - April 30, 1881

On his way from Paris to the Netherlands in November 1878, Theo van Gogh stopped in Brussels to see his brother Vincent. Together they visited the Musée des Beaux Arts, where Vincent was impressed at seeing “so many remarkable paintings”. In a letter to his brother, he singled out the work of the artists Charles De Groux (1825–1870), Henri Leys (1815–1869) and Joseph Théodore Coosemans (1828–1904).

Two and a half years later, in spring 1881, Vincent again visited the museum. By then, the collection had moved to another building nearby. Vincent viewed the annual exhibition of the royal Belgian watercolour society. Vincent found the show interesting and was particularly impressed by the Dutch artists. Fishing boat and horseman by Willem Hendrik Mesdag (1831–1915), in particular, captivated him:

“It was a large, important drawing, broadly done and so powerful that, as I said, nothing else could hold a candle to it.” Read the complete letter


Paul Fagel
Van Gogh in Brussel
In: Nederlandse Vereniging te Brussel. Jubileum 1906-1966

W. Lutjeharms 
De Vlaamse opleidingsschool van Nicolaas de Jonge en zijn opvolgers (1875-1926)
Brussel 1978

Bart Moens
De kunstenaarsopleiding van Vincent van Gogh in Brussel
Brussel 2012 (unpublished thesis, Van Gogh Museum library, Amsterdam)

Sjraar van Heugten (red.)
Van Gogh in the Borinage: the birth of an artist
Brussel, 2015


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