Vincent van Gogh's love life

Was Vincent van Gogh ever lucky in love?

By Van Gogh Museum

Vincent van Gogh

In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le Tambourin (January 1887 - March 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

Unrequited loves

The story of Vincent’s love of women is mainly one of setbacks and rejections. There was no shortage of desire or need on his part, but Vincent was never lucky in love. How come it never seemed to work out?

Kee Vos and her son Jan c. 1881 by A. Greiner, AmsterdamVan Gogh Museum

No, nay, never

At the age of 28, Vincent was visiting his parents when he met his cousin Kee Vos-Stricker. Her husband had recently died. Vincent's feelings for her ran away with him. However, Kee did not see her cousin as husband material. She answered "no, nay, never" to his repreated proposals.

Head of a Woman (1882/1883) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

Saving Sien

When Vincent was 29 he met the pregnant prostitute Sien and her daughter. Vincent picked them up form the street and moved them into the little studio where he was living. After the baby was born they lived happily together for a while. When Sien started working again Vincent could see things were going wrong. He took his painter's gear and left. Vincent did so with a heavy heart, as he had become very fond of the children.

Garden with Courting Couples: Square Saint-Pierre (May 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

Can't live without love

"Then I thought to myself, I'd like to be with a woman, I can't live without love, without a woman. I couldn't care a fig for life if there wasn't something infinite, something deep, something real." - wrote Vincent to Theo from Etten, around December 23, 1881.

Margot Begemann (1841–1907) by UnknownVan Gogh Museum

The woman next door

In 1884, at the age of 31, Vincent moved back in with his parents in Nuenen. Soon, Vincent fell in love with the neighbours' daughter Margot. She responded to his avances but a marriage was opposed by Margot's family. The affair ended dramatically when Margot poisoned herself, distressed by all the gossip. She survived, but the relationship was beyond saving.

In the café: Agostina Segatori in Le Tambourin (January 1887 - March 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

City of love

Vincent must have been very fond of Agostina Segatori. He made several paintings of courting couples in the 4 months they were seeing each other. Vincent met her in Paris at the age of 32. Agostina was the owner of restaurant Le Tambourin, a place where Vincent liked to go. But like his other loves, Agostina turned out to be a source of problems. When she fell ill, Vincent suspected she had had an abortion or miscarriage.

The yellow house (`The street') (September 1888 - 1888) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum


Two years after arriving in Paris, Vincent moved to the Yellow House in Arles in the South of France. After so many failed relationships, at the age of 35 Vincent eventually came to accept his fate. His unpredictable, maladjusted and unstable personality proved entirely unsuitable when it came to matters of the heart.

Self-portrait with grey felt hat (September 1887 - October 1887) by Vincent van GoghVan Gogh Museum

Love for art

In Arles Vincent found comfort with prostitutes and his 'requited' love for art, nature and his brother Theo. 'If I felt no love for nature and my work, then I would be unhappy' - wrote Vincent to his brother Theo on July 26, 1882.

Credits: Story

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

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