Vincent van Gogh arrived in Antwerp on 24 November 1885 from Nuenen in the hope of taking lessons at the art academy and selling his art. In a letter to his brother Theo, he had said that he wanted to go to this city. He rented a room from the Dutch couple Willem Henricus Brandel and his wife Anna Wilhelmina Huberta on the second floor of their house in the Lange Beeldekenstraat 224.
|Vincent van Gogh
He enjoyed the first few weeks in Antwerp and Vincent often wrote to Theo how happy he was with his choice of the city. Vincent loved discovering the city: walking along the quays, visiting different churches, and going to the museums. Vincent also visited various art dealers in the hope of being able to sell his work. But his artwork did not bring the desired sales and Vincent had to constantly beg Theo to send him money in order to survive.
In January 1886 Vincent enrolled in a drawing course on antique sculpture at the Antwerp art academy. There he also followed a painting course with Charles Verlat for a short time. In addition, he enrolled in two evening classes. In the meantime, Vincent had all kinds of problems with his teeth, probably caused by his unhealthy lifestyle; Vincent ate poorly, often only lived on water and bread, and smoked a lot of pipes. He was struck by syphilis disease and spent some time in the Stuivenberg Hospital.
The lessons at the academy were supposed to end at the end of March 1886, but Vincent did not stay that long. He left Antwerp on 28 February to further develop as an artist in Paris, hoping for a place in the studio of artist Fernand Cormon. In Paris, he could live with his brother Theo.
|Achterkant oude huizen
During his presence in Antwerp, Van Gogh painted around 35 canvases, including one with the back of the houses in Korte Van Bloerstraat, a view from his small room. This painting was appropriately named "Backside of old houses", and is his best-known work from that period. Seven paintings and several drawings from his period in Antwerp have been preserved.