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Art and Philately: Vincent van Gogh on Stamps

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 15/03/2020

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most interesting artists in history. Today we’ll take a look at stamps related to Vincent and his artwork as well as mention some important facts and listen to his words.

Vincent van Gogh – Early Life

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born 30 March 1853 in Zundert, Netherlands and passed away on 29 July 1890, in Auvers-sur-Oise, France. He’s a famous post-impressionist artist who created around 860 oil paintings (total around 2100 artworks). Most of his artworks were landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and self-portraits.

Vincent van Gogh - France

Famous People - Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

France, 1956/11/10

30 ₣ - French

"If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things."

"I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create."

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."


Before he started painting, he tried many different career paths – art dealer, school teacher, preacher. Still, all of these attempts were unsuccessful. That is the reason why Vincent started painting relatively old, at the age of 27. If we take into account that he lived only until 37, he had only 10 productive years as a painter.

Vincent van Gogh - Belgium

Stamp Day 1990: Postman Roulin by Vincent Van Gogh

Belgium, 1990/04/09

14 fr - Belgian franc

"Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion."

"Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again."

"I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."


Most of the facts we know about Vincent originate from hundreds of letters he wrote. Some 800 letters were addressed to his brother Theo (actually 600 letters exchanges between the two of them), and his artist friends Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard.

Vincent van Gogh - UNO Geneva

Human Rights - Van Gogh: The Prison Courtyard

UNO Geneva, 1990/11/16

0.35 Fr. - Swiss franc

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well."

Vincent van Gogh -Netherlands

Vincent van Gogh's 150th birthday

The Netherlands, 2003/01/02

0.39 € - Euro

1st row - Nuenen period

Drawing: Road Behind the Parsonage Garden. 1884 - Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Painting: Autumn Landscape with Four Trees, 1885 - Kroller-Muller Museum

Painting: The Potato Eaters, 1885 - Van Gogh Museum,

Letter sketch: The Potato Eaters, 1885 - Van Gogh Museum

2nd row - Paris period

Drawing: Garden with Sunflowers, 1887 - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: Sunflowers, 1887 - Kroller-Muller Museum

Self-Portrait with Felt Hat, 1887/1888 - Van Gogh Museum

Drawing: Study for Self-portrait, 1887 - Van Gogh Museum

3rd row Arles period

Drawing: The Seated Zouave, 1888 - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: The Zouave, 1888 - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: Cafe Terrace on the `Place du Forum' at Night, 1888 - Kroller-Muller Museum

Drawing: Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888 - Dallas Museum of Art

4th row - Saint-Remy period

Drawing: Trees with Ivy in the Garden of St. Paul's Hospital in Saint-Remy, 1889 - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: Tree Trunks in Gross, 1890 - Kroller-Muller Museum

Painting: Almond Blossom, 1890 - Van Gogh Museum

Drawing: Garden of St. Paul's Hospital in Saint-Remy, 1889 - Van Gogh Museum

5th row - Auvers-sur-Oise period

Drawing: Street in Anvers - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: View of Auvers, 1890 - Van Gogh Museum

Painting: Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 - Van Gogh Museum

Drawing: Crows, 1890 - The Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester

"I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners."

"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."

"Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it."

Vincent van Gogh - Italy

Carabinieri Cultural Protection Force 50 Years (2019) - The Gardener by Vincent van Gogh

Italy, 2019/04/29

B º - No Face Value

"It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures."

"I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream."

"In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing."

"As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed."

Poverty and Death

As it was often the case with many artists, he gained more popularity after he passed away, than he had during his lifetime. It’s actually considered that during his lifetime he managed to sell only one of his paintings – “Red Vineyards Near Arles”. Not surprisingly, he experienced financial difficulties, and that combined with his mental problems resulted in well-known cutting his ear and later shooting himself in the chest on 27 July 1890. He passed away 2 days after that event. Needless to say, prices for his paintings today are in millions of dollars.

Vincent van Gogh - Germany

Treasures of German Museums - "Field of Poppies" by Vincent van Gogh

Germany, 2020/01/02

155 ct - Euro cent

"I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God's help I shall succeed."

"The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others."

"I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."

If we take into account that he had only 10 productive years and kept painting, although without having profit out of it, we can say that he was one of the few great and true artists that ever lived.

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