Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 21–32 | Cite as

Vincent van Gogh's early years as an artist

  • Richard Brower


Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) was an artist for 10 years, from 1880 to 1890. As a mature artist, he was capable of executing works in a rapid fashion, sometimes up to three a day and requiring less than an hour for each. But it took him 9 years of deliberate repetition to evolve the competencies with which to execute his works rapidly. This paper examines the first 2 years of his artistic development, a period when he consciously set about to establish the foundations for his later production, including having an overall plan, establishing a skill for drawing before proceeding to painting, experimenting judiciously in a controlled manner, and amplifying novelty by varied repetition. All these factors are considered as “work objectivity,” which is the notion that regardless of how far-ranging his motivations might have been, he was objective and planful in an approach to the creative enterprise.

Key words

van Gogh creativity development case study biography 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Brower
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWagner College, Campus HallStaten Island

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