Note: This photograph is often mistaken for Vincent and Theo's brother, Cor.
Theo was the one constant in Vincent van Gogh's life. Vincent and his brother were very close throughout their entire lives, and Vincent never would have discovered his incredible gift were it not for Theo's ongoing and invaluable support--both emotionally and financially.
Their relationship was not always an ideal one and there were many instances of friction and unhappiness on both sides, particularly when Vincent lived with Theo in Paris from 1886 to early 1888. Still, Theo's unwavering faith in and support of his brother cannot be understated. Without Theo, the world today would never have known this Vincent van Gogh.
After Vincent died in 1890, Theo was suffering from a complicated kidney infection. Recent evidence suggests that Theo, like Vincent, may have contracted syphilis. He checked himself into a sanatorium shortly after that. Camille Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien: "It appears that Theo van Gogh was ill before his madness; he had uremia. For a week he was unable to urinate . . . .".
By early 1891 Theo had a physical breakdown. He had a weak heart and now suffered a stroke which finally paralysed him. He passed into a coma and died a few days later.
Theo's unwavering support of his brother ensured that Vincent's great work will never be forgotten. In addition, the vast amount of correspondence between the two brothers has provided many insights into the work and the heart of Vincent van Gogh.