The name of van Gogh was virtually unknown when he killed himself: only one article about him had appeared during his lifetime. He had exhibited a few canvases at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris between 1888 and 1890 and in Brussels in 1890; both salons showed small commemorative groups of his work in 1891. One-man shows of his work did not occur until 1892.

There was interest from a dealer in Paris early in 1885.[86] Theo asked Vincent if he had paintings ready to exhibit.[87] In May, Van Gogh responded with his first major work, The Potato Eaters, and a series of "peasant character studies" which were the culmination of several years of work.[88] When he complained that Theo was not making enough effort to sell his paintings in Paris, his brother responded that they were too dark, and not in keeping with the bright style of Impressionism.[85] In August his work was publicly exhibited for the first time, in the shop windows of the dealer Leurs in The Hague. One of his young peasant sitters became pregnant in September 1885; Van Gogh was accused of forcing himself upon her, and the village priest forbade parishioners to model for him.[89]

During the late 1940s, Van Dyke was a radio DJ in Danville, Illinois. In 1947, Van Dyke was persuaded by pantomime performer Phil Erickson[13] to form a comedy duo with him called "Eric and Van—the Merry Mutes."[14] The team toured the West Coast nightclub circuit, performing a mime act and lip synching to old 78 records. They brought their act to Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 1950s and performed a local television show featuring original skits and music called "The Merry Mutes".[15]


On January 27, 2013, at the age of 87, Van Dyke received the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, Van Dyke reminisced about his work over the years as an entertainer and stated that his career has "been full of surprises and a lot of fun." He also praised actors working in the industry today, calling them "the greatest generation of actors" and telling them, "You've all lifted the art to another place now." He continued with a rhetorical question for his Hollywood colleagues: "Aren't we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn't require growing up? I love that." Van Dyke is the 49th recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award, following 2012 honoree Mary Tyler Moore.
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