Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853 in Zundert - July 29, 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise) was a Dutch draughtsman and painter, classified as a Post-Impressionist. His paintings and drawings include some of the world's best known, most popular, and most expensive pieces. He suffered from recurrent bouts of mental illness - about which there are many competing theories - and during one episode cut off a part of his ear. Van Gogh spent his early life as an art dealer, teacher and preacher, and he only embarked upon a career as an artist in 1880, at the age of 27. Initially he worked in sombre colours, until an encounter in Paris with Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism accelerated his artistic development. He produced all of his works, some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings, during the last ten years of his life. Most of his best-known works were produced in the final two years of his life, and in the two months before his death he painted 90 pictures.