The original work is dated 1888 and is kept at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The portrayed beach is that of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a small...
Van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853 to a strict Protestant pastor and began drawing when he was a child. He studied English, German and French together with drawing, but did not complete his technical studies because of his father's poor academic results and financial problems. His paternal uncle, who was an antique dealer, introduced him to the world of auction houses in The Hague and he was transferred for work first to Brussels and then to London. On his way he visited Paris where he was struck by the paintings of the Louvre and the Salons. In London he was rejected by a young woman with whom he fell in love and this story threw him into a deep depression, moved back to The Hague, then to London and finally Paris, but in 1876 he decided to resign from work to the auction house. He returned to London for about 9 months where he taught, living in very precarious economic conditions. Back in Holland, he worked as a salesman in a bookshop and assiduously attended the Dutch Reformed Church. He returned to study, and looked after the sick poor, preaching as a missionary, living in great poverty. Throughout his life he carried on an epistolary correspondence with his brother Theo, which led him to return to art. He moved to Brussels and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, which he soon left in 1881 and received another rejection from a woman he fell in love with, a cousin.
Also financially helped by his brother Theo to stay in the city of The Hague, Vincent painted many still lifes in this period. In 1882 he had a relationship with a prostitute who was his model, but broke up under strong pressure from the family. In 1883 he moved to the north of Holland and portrayed local workers and peasants. At the end of 1883 he moved from his parents to Nuenen. Accused of being responsible for the pregnancy of a young woman who posed for him as a model, he moved to Antwerp in 1885 and 1886 to Paris, hosted by his brother Theo, who introduced him to the great French Impressionist painters, from whom he felt very far away. He was partly influenced by it and in 1888 moved to Arles, in the south of France, where its palette became clearer and more colourful. Theo convinced Gauguin to go to Arles to his brother for a while and Gauguin lived with Vincent for a couple of months, until a great quarrel between the two painters culminated in the cutting of part of Vincent's ear. Even today there are several theories about the author of the gesture, probably Van Gogh himself. In 1889 he voluntarily entered the psychiatric hospital of Saint Rémy de Provence because he spent serene periods alternating with periods of deep depression. He was diagnosed with epilepsy. He painted a lot between one crisis and another, while his paintings began to be exhibited and analyzed by experts. Only one of his paintings was sold while still alive in February 1890 to a Belgian painter. In May he decided to go to Paris with his brother Theo and then to Auvers, near Paris, where a doctor took care of him and where he painted a lot, in extreme solitude. At the end of July he died as a result of a gunshot that had probably been inflicted.