Life and work of Vincent in Tilburg

1866 - 1868

Vincent's drawing room, HBS Willem II in Tilburg

On Sept. 15, 1866, the then 13-year-old Vincent Van Gogh registered in Tilburg's population register. The former city palace of Willem II had just housed the Hogere Burger School. Here Vincent was taught by one of the best drawing teachers of the day: Constant Cornelis Huijsmans, who worked according to traditional academic rules in which drawing by observation was central. Remarkably, Vincent did not write a word about the course in his later letters.

Constant Huijsmans

At school, Vincent was taught drawing by an artist who was well-known in his time: Constant Huijsmans. This was a draftsman, painter and author of books on drawing education. Master Huijsmans paid much attention in his lessons to drawing depth. Remarkably, Vincent had a lot of trouble with this in his later work.

'A good student'

Halfway through his sophomore year, Vincent left school rather suddenly. He returned to his parents in Zundert. The reason for his departure is not known. As far as is known, the departure had nothing to do with his performance, as Vincent was known to be "a good student. Perhaps he was homesick, or ran away, arguing at school. Maybe his parents could no longer pay the tuition. We don't know. Vincent didn't write about it in his letters.
There is one drawing that remains from his Tilburg days: 'Two sketches of a man leaning on his spade,' signed V.W. van Gogh and dated 1867.

Vincent's boarding house

At Korvel 57, stood the home of Chief Commissioner of Taxes Jan Hannik and his wife Adriana van der Griend. Vincent found a boarding house here. Son Marinus was five years older than Vincent and also attended HBS. Today another building stands there, with the address St. Annaplein 18-19.
Against the facade of the building St. Annaplein 18-19, the place where his boarding house stood, a memorial plaque has been installed on the initiative of Prof. Dr. Harry van den Eerenbeemt.