Throughout his life the young post-impressionist battled difficulties that made his life tediously long in brevity and arduous in length, and a good share of the problems he encountered came from his relationships with women. Vincent Van Gogh “dealt” with roughly 6 women in his 37 years but had legit relationships with only two. The six women Vincent dealt with are Ursula, Kay, Christine, Margot, Stien, Racheal. Vincent became one of the greatest most talented artists of our time, but what later became a talent only rivaled by few artists in history didn’t start out that way nor did it ended for him as such. Vincent lived a tumultuous life and didn’t get to see nor did he get to enjoy the fruits of his work or talent. Even though his work sold for hundreds of millions of dollars much later, he died poor, lost, and confused. However, Vincent died fully content that he got the chance to spill onto the canvas everything in his mind, the best way he could. He refused to negotiate his uniqueness in a world that was hell bent on changing him, nor did he put on bargain any of his convictions but for this he paid a heavy price. He was the epitome of a man discarded by society. Later in life he met other misfits like him who poured so much passion into their work as he did that it almost borders on insanity. He found brotherhood among loud and interesting characters of the likes of Paul Gaugin, Lautrec, Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, George Rousseau, Pere Tanguy, his brother Theo, all fellow painters and art dealers, but it’s the women, women, who, to sound off Nietzsche, made higher the high in Vincent’s life and made the lows in it more frequent. In many ways, Vincent was a MGTOW that never was.
Even though one could guess, and would guess right, that women of 1800s were probably more reserved than modern women, I find it a bit interesting that the female nature we often speak of is very much expressed in these women just as modern women. The only thing that changed was time and even that didn’t do much to squelch these instincts in the women of the early 19th century. In juxtaposition, Vincent’s story is the quintessential life of a blue piller who willingly sacrificed himself at the altar of the apotheosized woman in his quest to find love. He deeply tortured himself early on because he couldn’t understand why women didn’t love him despite his niceties towards them and despite his willingness to go the extra mile for them, a phase many men had to endure in their lives. Vincent eventually “went his own way” and self-actualize but that came too late for Vincent. Let’s examine these six women:
Ursula is the proprietress’ daughter young Vincent Van Gogh stayed with during his time in London. He held an art dealer job at one of the family business in London as he tries to figure out what to do with his life. Vincent hadn’t yet discovered his talent but even as a young sage he was adept at recognizing good paintings from bad. He would often wonder why people who came into the shop admire awful paintings and shun his teachings on the qualities of the good ones. This is perhaps one of the first lessons Vincent learned about human nature, that it gravitates towards that which is popular. It wasn’t long before Vincent fell for Ursula’s not-so-subtle flirtations and gestures around the house, mostly expressed to get Vincent to do things in the house or to acquire gifts from him. Vincent, to his own detriment, was very blue-pill and was more than pleased to do things for Ursula before she even asks. He mistook her flirtations for love and interest, and made the biggest mistake most blue pill men makes, he proposed. Considering the time period, I would say this is not uncommon, but it is clear that Vincent, with a rare sincerity of character, a quality that made him very vulnerable, jumped the gun too soon. Vincent was surprised when she Ursula said “no” to his proposal, but was even more surprised when she confessed that she has been secretly engaged to a man the entire time Vincent was living there. He wondered why Ursula never mentioned her fiancé the entire 6 months he was living there or why her fiancé never came by. The situation is too convoluted for Vince to comprehend, so rather than try to understand he threw caution and reason to the wind and insisted on chasing Ursula. He would stop at nothing to make her his wife. For a long time, he would wonder why Ursula didn’t and wouldn’t love him. After much pestering on his part he finally gave up after he arrived at Ursula’s house one evening (he he had been kicked out by Ursula’s mother) to witness Ursula’s engagement ceremony.
There is not much to say about Kay. Vincent, a young evangelist who at this point is fervent in his religious practice saw nothing wrong with expressing his affection for his widowed cousin as he believed that instances in the bible where cousins fall in love and even marry provides justification to fall in love with one’s cousin. When he found out he couldn’t and wasn’t allowed to, he was devastated. The seed of doubt about the existence of god already planted in him back when he was a preacher among peasants and miners in Borinage reached its peak of germination at this point in Vincent’s life. He wondered what use is religion and its book when its stories couldn’t be duplicated or its teachings be practiced. After Kay screamed “NO! Never! Never!” and ran, Vincent saw the writings on the wall and quit god for ever.
Christine is a cheap prostitute Vincent met at a bar in Hague and eventually marry. Christine already has 5 children by different men she didn’t know, the 5th child she was carrying when she and Vincent met at the bar. Vincent often pay her to pose for painting sessions because he was too broke to pay for models, but he also sees it as a way to help Christine get off the street. He saw the beauty in her that didn’t exist. He made one drawing of her and called it “Sorrow.”
Christine eventually moved in with Vincent. Vincent took care of his new wife, changing her appearance for the better, but as men often find out, you can’t turn a ho into a housewife. For Vincent’s generosity, she repaid Vincent by donning “a good housewife” image and life was great for both. She didn’t make any demands of Vincent and she was agreeable. She cooks, clean, and takes good care of the house while Vincent work on his paintings. She saves the allowance Vincent was paying her so she could shop and feed them both when money is slow. Needless to say, Vincent found a NWALT. Or so he thought. It wasn’t long before this that Christine began to act out her female nature. According to the narrator of Lust for Life, “Christine was growing careless in her housekeeping, the money did not last as long as it had before. Vincent was avaricious for models so that he could collect enough studies for some real canvases. He regretted every franc that had to be taken away from the house and sunk into the drawing. It was a struggle for their lives. The hundred and fifty francs a month could just have supplied him with food, shelter, and materials; the attempt to make it provide for four people was heroic but impossible. He began owing money to the landlord, to the shoemaker, the grocer, the baker, and the color dealer.”
Eventually, things took a turn for the worse. Christine started to go to her mother’s house more than usual to stay. Once, when Vincent went to Christine’s mother’s house to collect Christine, he found her smoking and drinking among her mother, brother, brother’s mistress, and a strange man, “I can smoke cigars if I want!” she cried. “You ain’t got no right to stop me if I get them myself.” “You ain’t taking care of me no more!” she shouted. “You don’t even give me something to eat. Why don’t you make more money? What in hell kind of man are you, anyway?” Vincent’s debt grew because of Christine and her family, and she started bringing strangers over to his house. Here we see shaming and female hypergamy on full display as Christine became more and more demanding and unbearable, a far cry from that seemingly innocent prostitute Vincent found slumped over a bottle at a seedy bar in town. Gentlemen, never get married.
Margot is a rich 40-year-old spinster who lives with her four sisters, also spinsters. This is a woman who has hit the proverbial “wall,” which explains her obsessive interest in the 30-year-old Vincent long after Vincent has lost interest in finding a NWALT. After an unsuccessful marriage with Christine, Vincent returned to his family in Nuenen and made painting his sole priority and focus which is where Margot met him. Margot is the only woman who ever truly “loved” Vincent in every vague sense love could be described. She adored him and would often refer to him as “a king.” She finds his uniqueness and his eccentric nature very soothing. Unfortunately, Vincent couldn’t and didn’t love her back. He tolerated having her around because she didn’t bother him while he paints, but there is no reciprocity of love from him. She knows this and accept it as a reality of life and made the effort not to let this knowledge diminish her love for him. She loved Vincent so much she attempted suicide when her sisters refused to let her marry him.
The wall does soften women’s impenetrable guards and edges. They become decent human beings at the ripping age of 30 to 40. For a MGTOW, there is a certain liberation that comes with the realization that women’s love is nothing but conditional adoration because it allows men to deal with women accordingly. For the first time, Vincent was “loved,” and for the first time he didn’t return it. Like Paul Gaugin later told Vincent when Vincent challenged Gaugin on love, “I don’t mean to say that I am not susceptible to beauty, Vincent, but simply that my senses will have none of it. As you perceive, I do not know love. To say, ‘I love you’ would break all my teeth. But I have no complaints to make. Like Jesus I say, ‘The flesh is the flesh and the spirit is the spirit.’ Thanks to this, a small sum of money satisfies my flesh, and my spirit is left in peace.”
Rachel is a pretty prostitute that works in Maison de Tolerance, a brothel Vincent frequent in Arles. The important detail here is that she fell in love with Vincent’s ears the very moment they met and from then on she’d playfully requests Vincent’s ears, “what funny little ears you have, fou-rou,” she would say between sips of red wine. “Do you like them?” asked Vincent. “Yes. They’re so soft and round, just like a puppy’s.” “Then you can have them.” And Rachel would laugh loudly as she held onto his ears. When Vincent’s depression reached its peak, he started hallucinating and started hearing voices. On one of his very dark days when there seems to be no hope of any light but more darkness Vincent picked up a razor and sliced off his right ear. He wrapped it in a paper and left for Maison de Tolerance to go see Rachel. He handed her the wrapped bundle and left. The day prior she had asked for his ears as she usually does every time Vincent visit, “just to prove it, fou-rou, will you give me your funny little ears? You promised you would.” This marks the beginning of the end for Vincent as he was later committed to an asylum, then finally taking his own life shortly after, something too common to men.
The symbolic significance of this is the price every man pays for a woman and every man has to decide how much of himself he can afford to give away; how much of himself he can afford to keep spending. Women’s demands aren’t static, it’s ever changing. With women, the goal post is ever shifting, and the price is never the same. How many men has sent themselves to the gallows because of a woman? How many men has spilled their blood like Vincent did? And how many of them who aren’t spilling their blood spill their sweat, their freedom, their liberty, their health, their talent, their individuality, their manhood, their time, their peace of mind, and their money for a woman? Charles Bukowski said, “And yet women frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.” In the end, in that dark state of depression and despair like the one Vincent Van Gogh found himself, man would still seek woman and her validation as the answer to his salvation, not knowing that women cannot and should not be held to such standards. Women can’t be an antidote to the poison they spread.
One of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Landscape under a stormy sky,” sold for $54M two years ago. It came from the collection of Louis Franck, a Belgian banker, and his wife, Evelyn. I marveled at how civilization was brought about by the type of men society wouldn’t have spit on had they been on fire. Men who, to their own detriment, spent their lives for causes that are never regarded nor appreciated and for people who least deserve it. It reminded me of a term Bar Bar coined a while ago, Male Civilizational Draw, which is a force characteristic to all civilizations, exerted to all its men as though they were an industrial resource for the betterment of the men, women, and children of that civilization but at the expense of only the men which is designed to maximize male innovation.
Stone, I. (1937). Lust for life: the novel of Vincent van Gogh. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.