FAQs

FAQs

Is this website complete? Does it have every painting and letter of van Gogh's?

In short, no. We have just begun what shall be a long project and a labor of love to create a site with a huge amount of material in a navigable and fun presentation, along with posting on social media to share images and information daily. Even when we approach the 100% mark though, in truth this is a site that can never be fully complete as things are always changing in the world of art and Vincent van Gogh.

I'm having trouble finding my favorite painting. Is it possible you missed listing it?

Anything is possible but the most likely explanation is that it is listed here under a different name. There is no one final reference of the naming of the works and therefore a bit of inconsistency. Try searching under labels, subject matter, or other names. Or contact me and let me see if I can help.

After the artworks I keep seeing the letters "F" and "JH" with numbers after them. It seems some sort of code or numbering system. What is it?

These are the letters and numbers referring to two separate catalogs of the works of Vincent van Gogh.
The first catalogue raisonné (a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist) of van Gogh's work was completed by Jacob Baart de la Faille. This was published in 1928 and revised and republished by a committee from the van Gogh Museum in 1970. This catalog is often considered the definitive van Gogh catalog. His numbers are preceded by the letter "F": F0612 refers to Starry Night.

Jan Hulsker helped establish the van Gogh Museum and published a newer catalog in 1978, and it was revised in 1989 and again in 1996. The numbers designating a work are preceded by the letters "JH" and in this case Starry Night is referred to by the catalog number JH1731.

The numbers vary because de la Faille's system took paintings into account first, then numbered the drawings and watercolors. Hulsker ignored the medium and numbered the works in chronological order beginning with Vincent's earliest drawings and ending with his last paintings.

Why two catalogs?

The earlier catalog from de la Faille has more information, provenance details, exhibitions, and such. Hulsker did not include this level of detail but has more extensive and up to date analysis, commentary, and review.

Further complicating this all Vincent sometimes used both front and back of a canvas or paper. de la Faille gave these works the same number but added the letter "r" for recto, or front, and the letter "v", verso, meaning the back. Hulsker chose instead to give each side its own number.

How do you really pronounce Vincent van Gogh?

If we want to get petty, probably not correctly.
Americans mostly pronounce it as van-GOH and this will be understood. Some say it more as van-GOKH, and occasionally you might hear it as van-KHOKH which is probably closest to the Dutch. It is funny that Americans and British say it differently but the Dutch say it different from both of them. It could be said that Vincent is said more like vin-SHENT, van is sort of like combining a "v" and an "f" and Gogh is closest to the Scottish work loch, pronounced as LOCK but with more of an "H" beginning and a very guttural last two letters.

It is difficult, so much so that the French mangled the name to the point that van Gogh wanted to be referred to in all records and the art world as simply Vincent, and this is how he signed his work.

Here's a sample of three speakers from Netherlands and Belgium pronouncing it for you.







Did Vincent really cut off his ear and give it to a prostitute?

He did. There is some confusion as to the exact events leading up to the mutilation as his friend Paul Gauguin claimed Vincent attacked him with a knife shortly before hurting himself on 23 December 1888. Generally this is now believed to be a bit of a fabrication on the part of Gauguin. But Vincent did cut himself, not removing the entire ear but about half of his left ear, and then made his way to a brothel and gave the ear to one of the women. Police were called and this led to Vincent being hospitalized. While in the hospital he painted several self-portraits of himself with the bandage ear. This has probably done much to add to the legend and lore of his anguished mind and life at this time.

If you should notice that in his art the right ear is bandaged remember that he painted himself using a mirror.

What sets this website apart from other sites about Vincent van Gogh?

We are striving to bring you the highest quality and most complete van Gogh resource on the Internet. More details and information on individual works. A broader look at Vincent's impact on not just art but also popular culture. And of course the best quality images of his work. We were surprised to find a great variation in quality of images available. While there can be differences in monitor quality, and a painting can be difficult to photograph well, some of what is presented is disappointing. When we researched this we were astounded at side by side comparisons of the same painting. See below left for a typical image available on the Internet, and the higher quality image we present on the right. In addition you can click on our images for a larger lightbox presentation.

Low Quality van Gogh Painting ImageHigh Quality van Gogh Painting Image

Do you post new things all the time?

Once most of the paintings, drawings, and letters are on the website there will be less frequent updates, but we will continue to update the website as news happens. Sometimes paintings are stolen, auction sales occur, and interesting cultural news is shared, things such as exhibitions, films, and books.

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