The Unknown Number of Vincent van Gogh’s Art Sales

The Red Vinyard

Vincent van Gogh is often remembered as a struggling artist who was unable to sell his work during his lifetime. However, this narrative is largely a myth that has been heavily edited and orchestrated by Vincent’s sister-in-law, Jo Bonger, and her family. In reality, Vincent did sell a number of his paintings, including The Red Vinyard, which was sold for 400 francs less than a year before his death.

Vincent’s uncle Cor, an art dealer, was one of his first buyers, purchasing 19 cityscapes of The Hague. Vincent also sold a painting to the Parisian paint and art dealer Julien Tanguy, and his brother Theo was able to sell another work to a gallery in London. In addition to these sales, Vincent engaged in the common practice of bartering or exchanging goods or services for other goods and services, often trading work with other artists in exchange for supplies or food.

The exact number of paintings Vincent sold during his lifetime is indeed unknown, but it was certainly more than a couple. The myth that Vincent did not sell his art at all was perpetuated by the edited narrative of his life that was created and sold to the public by Jo Bonger and her family. In reality, Vincent was able to sell a number of his works and engage in the practice of bartering, despite the struggles he faced throughout his life.