Did you know that one of only two photographs of van Gogh was in fact of his brother
Vincent van Gogh lived in the Borinage from December 1878 to October 1880, as part of his career as an evangelist. While there, he would observe the extreme misery and poverty in which the miners lived. Even today, there are many traces of van Gogh’s life in the Borinage. Living in turn in Colfontaine, Wasmes and Cuesmes, two of the houses where he lived are today open to the public and form a place of pilgrimage. Another key location, the Marcasse site, which can be visited by appointment and is well worth the detour with its famous mine shafts, the 700-metre descent of which deeply affected van Gogh.
In 2015, an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Mons, retraced his life in the Borinage mining basin, through some seventy of the artist’s paintings, drawings and letters. As part of this exhibition, Yves Vasseur, Chief Commissioner of Mons 2015, reviewed a lot of the documents relating to the painter. Until then, there were only two known photographs of Vincent van Gogh, but Vasseur’s investigation found that one of the two is not of Vincent, but his brother Theo.