VINCENT and THEO: The Van Gogh Brothers

Vincent van Gogh, a classic model of an eccentric and a tortured genius, shared a fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, who was his only confidant, closest friend and amongst the few who understood the artist. Theo was not just a loving brother, who gave financial and emotional support with unwavering love but also played the role of an art dealer, who promoted and introduced Vincent’s art to the evolving art scenario in Europe, unfortunately his efforts only fructified after his dead.

VINCENT a creative genius and THEO a Charismatic art dealer, as illustrated in manga- Les deux Van Gogh.

It is almost impossible to talk about Vincent’s art and achievements without referring his brother’s influence. The connection between the two intensely devoted brothers was admirable, Theo was like Vincent’s second self, an alter-ego of the artist.

Vincent and Theo- as illustrated in the animation movie ‘Loving Vincent’


There have been many cultural depictions that have highlighted their warm brotherly love. Listed are few of the most popular movies and books:-

Vincent & Theo– a 1990 biographical drama film about the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) and his brother Theo (1857–1891). The film highlights the warm relationship of the siblings, it starts from 1883 when despite his father’s protests Vincent decides to pursuit art as a career, Theo is introduced as the only family member who supported Vincent’s decision. In his lifetime, Theo never lost hope in Vincent’s artistic skills, he continued to encourage him till the end and as an art dealer persistently tried to establish him as a successful artist in the market. As a concerned brother, he even financed Paul Gauguin’s relocation to Arles with the hope that his company would help Vincent cope with depression and he trusted Gauguin’s influence might shift his dark palette to a brighter one, as was the pattern followed by the avant-garde impressionist artists of that time.

Promotional posters of the movie Vincent & Theo


Van Gogh: Painted With Words– A bio-documentary released in 2010, based on the real letters of Vincent and Theo, it showcases the correspondence between the two brothers and the circumstances at the moments the letters were written. Shown below is the promotional poster of the bio-documentary.

Promotional posters of the bio-documentary ‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words’

In their lifetime, Vincent van Gogh and his brother exchanged over 903 letters, the brothers had a constant correspondence, living apart didn’t bring any sort of distance or gap in their relationship. In the letters, Vincent expressed his artistic ideas and emotional experiences with complete honesty. These letters reveal the artist’s inner struggles, creative growth and personal thoughts.


Below are few books based on the collection of Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo:

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh edited by Mark Roskill


Dear Theoedited by Irving Stone


Theo: The Other Van Gogh by MarieAngelique Ozanne & Frederique De Jode

The book questions- Would Vincent have been Vincent without Theo? It analysis the key role the younger brother played in emotionally supporting and shaping his career as an artist.


Les deux Van Gogh (Sayonara Sorushie) An interesting graphic novel released in 2012 by Japanese Author/Artist Hozumi. Though the tear-jerking manga (Japanese term for graphic novels) is partly fictional but the way the Author/Artist has narrated the siblings attachment is extremely touching. This award-winning work is a must-read for all art enthusiasts.

Cover of Sayonara Sorcier

Theo was with his beloved brother till his last hours of life, on 27 July 1890 when he receiving the news that Vincent shot himself in the chest, he rushed to be at his brother’s side. Theo was distraught by the loss and died six months later, his body was buried with his brother at Auvers-sur-Oise. Theo’s widow held a memorial exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s artworks, and he was an instant sensation in the art circuit in Europe. Today Vincent van Gogh is one of the most recognizable artists, his creative techniques laid down the foundation for the modern art.

Vincent and Theo- A Creative genius and a Charismatic Art Dealer, as illustrated in Manga Sayonara Sorcier