1853 -- March 30: Birth of Vincent Willem van Gogh in Zundert, Netherlands, the eldest son of a Dutch Reformed minister.

1857 -- Birth of van Gogh's brother, Theo.1869 -- Begins working at The Hague gallery of the French art dealers Goupil & Cie.

1872 -- First letters to Theo. Van Gogh will write about 700 before his death.

1873 -- Transferred to London branch of Goupil.

--First visit to Paris.

1875 -- Transferred to Paris.

1876 -- Dismissed by gallery. Becomes a teacher, then an assistant preacher in England.

1877 -- Moves to Amsterdam to study theology.

1878 -- Gives up his studies. Moves to the Borinage coal-mining region in south Belgium to do evangelical work.

1880 -- Decides to become an artist. Studies at Brussels Academy.

-- Theo begins helping him financially.

1881 -- Moves to live with parents.

-- In late November moves to The Hague to study with Anton Mauve.

1882 -- Liaison with prostitute Sien Hoornik.

-- First oil painting.

1883 -- Breaks off with Hoornik and moves back in with parents.

1885 -- Death of his father.

-- Enrolls for a few months at the academy of Antwerp.

1886 -- Moves to Paris where he lives with Theo.

-- Meets Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin.

1887 -- Organizes an exhibition of Japanese woodcuts.

-- Meets Seurat.

1888 -- In February, moves to Arles, in Provence.

-- In October, Gauguin visits him.

-- During a mental breakdown cuts off his left earlobe.

-- His paintings are included in the Salon des Independants, Paris.

1889 -- Enters the asylum of Saint-Remy as a voluntary patient.

1890 -- In January, sells first picture.

-- First article devoted to his work is enthusiastic.

-- In May, moves to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris.

-- July 27: Shoots himself in the chest, dies two days later.

1891 -- Death of Theo.

1892 -- First retrospective exhibition in the Netherlands.

1893 -- First publication of van Gogh's letters.

1910 -- First biography, by Julius Meier-Graefe.

1913 -- Margaret E. F. Irwin's "How Many Miles to Babylon?" is the first novel inspired by van Gogh's life.

1935 -- First van Gogh exhibit in America, at the Museum of Modern Art.

1937 -- Irving Stone's "Lust for Life: The Novel of Vincent van Gogh" is a bestseller.

1956 -- "Lust for Life" is first movie about van Gogh, starring Kirk Douglas, based on Stone's novel.

1973 -- Opening of van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.