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When does genius begin?

Mozart began composing music at the age of four, but what about the genesis of Vincent van Gogh's brilliance? Vincent decided relatively late--in 1880 at the age of 27--to devote his life to being an artist. But this is not to say that he hadn't been interested in painting and drawing long before then.

Although serious studies of Vincent van Gogh's early works didn't appear until at least 1955, it's clear that an exploration of these drawings yields some striking insights into the very first origins of Van Gogh's career as an artist. The works listed below haven't been given official catalogue numbers in either the De la Faille or Hulsker catalogues raisonnés, but rather they are listed as part of a separate classification called "Juvenilia" -- Vincent's earliest works.

In addition, between the De la Faille or Hulsker catalogues raisonnés there are some overlaps and conflicts. Hulsker categorizes Coal Shoveler (1879) as a Juvenilia work, whereas De la Faille includes it in the main catalogue under number F 827.

The categorization will continue to evolve as ongoing research offers new insights into Vincent's works. For now, I include the accepted De la Faille listings as a basis for an examination of the Van Gogh Juvenilia works.

Note: The juvenilia works are also displayed in a thumbnail version.
XXVII View of Royal Road, Ramsgate Ramsgate: 31 May 1876 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum

Standard Version

No.

Name

Date

Current Location

V Goat Herd, The Zundert: 9 October 1862 Private collection
VIII Corinthian Capital Zundert: 22 August 1863 Otterlo, Kröller-Müller Museum
XI Surroundings of Croy Castle Near Aarle (?), The Zundert: 1863? Amsterdam, Mrs. E. Rijnders-Rehbock
XII Barn and Farmhouse Zundert: 8 February 1864 Lochem, Scholte-van Houten Collection
XIIa Two Sketches of a Man Leaning on His Spade Tilburg: 1867 Zundert: The Community of Zundert
XIII Country Lane The Hague: early 1873 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XIV Lange Vijverberg, The Hague The Hague: Autumn, 1872-Spring, 1873 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XV Ditch The Hague: Autumn, 1872-Spring, 1873 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XVI Canal The Hague: Autumn, 1872-Spring, 1873 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XVII Old Woman Asleep (after Rops) The Hague-London: Circa 1873 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
-- Assorted drawings from sketchbooks 1873-74 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XVIII Church of Helvoirt Helvoirt: June-October, 1874 New York, Mrs. and Mrs. Howard Cullman
XIX View of Helvoirt Helvoirt: July, 1874 Location unknown
XX Ville d'Avray: L'Etang au Batelier London: April, 1875 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXI Vicarage and Church at Etten Etten: April, 1876 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXII Vicarage at Etten Etten: April, 1876 Location unknown
XXIII Sketch of Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament Paris: 24 July 1875 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXV Austin Friars Church, London England: July, 1873 - May, 1875 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXVI View of Royal Road, Ramsgate Ramsgate: April-May, 1876 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXVII View of Royal Road, Ramsgate Ramsgate: May, 1876 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXVIII Churches at Petersham and Turnham Green Isleworth: November, 1876 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXIX Mills in the Neighbourhood of Dordrecht Dordrecht: April, 1877 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXX Cave of Machpelah, The Amsterdam: May, 1877 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXXI 'Au Charbonnage' Café, The Laeken: November, 1878 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
XXXII La Maison Magros Cuesmes: 1879 Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
XXXIII La Maison de Zandmennik Cuesmes: 1879 Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
-- Vincent's Boarding House in Hackford Road, Brixton, London London: 1873-74 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (on permanent loan from Mrs. K. Maynard since 1973)
-- Winter, In Life As Well (after Jozef Israëls) Amsterdam: c. 1877 Private collection


Additional juvenilia work from Jan Hulsker's 1996 catalogue raisonné

No.

Name

Date

Current Location

Juv. 10 Miners in the Snow at Dawn (sketch in letter 134) Cuesmes: 20 August 1880 Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum


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