Theo van Gogh (May 1 1857 – January 25 1891) was the younger brother of the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) and a successful art dealer. Beginning in 1880, Theo's unfailing financial support allowed his brother to devote himself entirely to painting.
Like his elder brother Vincent, Theodorus van Gogh, best known by the familiar form of his name Theo, was born in Groot-Zundert, in the province of Brabant in The Netherlands, son of Theodorus van Gogh and Anna Cornelia Carbentus.
Only days later, on July 30, Theo became profoundly depressed and showed serious signs of mental confusion. In September 1890 Theo unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Durand-Ruel gallery to mount a memorial retrospective of Vincent's paintings. In Paris, (the family moved next door), and Theo, assisted by Emile Bernard, improvised a first retrospective posthumous exhibition in his former apartment on September 20, 1890. In October 1890, on the request of Andries Bonger, his brother-in-law, Theo was accepted in the asylum of Auteuil, where he was diagnosed with "acute maniacal excitability with megalomania and progressive general paralysis". At the request of his wife, in November 1890 he was transferred to the Geneeskundig Gesticht voor Krankzinnigen ("Medical Institution for the Insane") in Utrecht, The Netherlands. There he died two months later at the age of 33 from complications of the final phase of syphilis, and was buried at the Begraafplaats Soestbergen. Two and a half decades later Theo van Gogh's corpse was transferred to France, and on April 8, 1914, both brothers were re-buried side by side at the cemetery of Auvers-sur-Oise.
Theo admired his elder brother, probably for his lifetime. But communicating with him proved to be difficult, even before Vincent opted to follow his artistic vocation. The communication between both brothers suffered from diverging definitions of standards, and it was evidently Theo who kept on writing letters. Therefore, mostly Vincent's answers survived and little of Theo's input. Theo was often concerned about Vincent's mental condition and he was amongst the few who understood his brother.
The two brothers maintained an intensive correspondence with Theo often encouraging his depressed brother. These letters have been collected and published into books, as revealing of the artist's mind and nature.
In 1886 he invited Vincent to come and live with him, and from March of that year they shared a house in Montmartre. Theo introduced Vincent to Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat, and in 1888 he persuaded Gauguin to join Vincent, who had moved to Arles in the meantime.
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