Art / Dutch Affairs / English

Is he well?

Today in 1890 Vincent van Gogh asked in a letter to his brother, Theo about Theo’s son who was born a couple of months earlier. Vincent asked

Often, very often, I think of my little nephew – is he well?

After the birth of his nephew who was named after him; Vincent Willem, Vincent painted this ‘Almond Blossoms’. He gave this painting as a gift to Theo and Jo in 1890.


He wrote
In that letter Vincent expressed his worries about his lack of money. Theo always supported him financially. Vincent wrote that he would love to come to Holland but the trip was costly.

Vincent also shared stories about Dr Gachet. Dr Gachet treated Vincent from nerves diseases, he suffered several breakdowns months earlier. Now experts believe Vincent was manic depressive. There are many theories about this. Dr Gachet’ s treatment was not helpful as Vincent presumably commited suicide 2 months after he wrote this letter. He was found dead in his room in Auverge sur Oise, North France early in the morning at 29 July 1890. Cause of death was a gun shot in his chest.

To those who did not know, although Van Gogh brothers were Dutch, they corresponded in French hence the explanation of some French expressions in the letter.

‘Almond blossom’ is one of my favourite paintings from Van Gogh besides Starry Night, Room in Arles, Irises, Caféterras bij nacht (Terrasse du café le soir). I love the blue color, the branches and of course the blossoms. This painting represents joy, spring and new life. It is so lively but yet subtle. Vincent was clearly inspired by Japanese prints when he painted this.

This post was inspired by a post today from Van Gogh Museum at its Facebook page.

Amandelbloesem (Almond Blossoms), 1890
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Oil on canvas, 73.5 X 92 cm
Collection of Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
(Vincent van Gogh Foundation)


8 thoughts on “Is he well?

  1. Sering terharu kalau baca cerita ttg hubungan kakak-beradik (spt cerita mbak yo bersaudara). Meski masing2 sudah punya kehidupan sendiri2 tapi saling membantu itu trenyuh di hati. Kliatan ya ini kakak beradik vincent & theo saling sayang. #mbrebesmilielingmbakku

    • Memang betul. Theo selalu support Vincent secara mental dan finansial sampai akhirnya Vincent meninggal. Kalo ada waktu baca korespondensi mereka deh (link ada dipos diatas) menarik hubungan mereka ini.

  2. Gue selalu terharu setiap ke museum ini lho mbak … semua emosi yg Vincent van Gogh rasain kayaknya terpancar dari semua lukisannya. Dan sayangnya karya nya dia baru dihargain pas dia udah wafat…how tragic!! Kasih sayangnya Theo ke adiknya memang sangat besar ya mbak…sampe meninggalnya pun dimakamkan bersebelahan 😦

    • Iya, dari goresan kuasnya yang tegas dan pilihan warna keliatan dia emo ya. Sangat berbakat tapi ya gitu, waktu masih hidup jual lukisannya ngga gampang. Tahu Edvard Munch pelukis The Scream? Itu juga sama twistednya seperti Vincent.

    • Sama!!! I was so emotional apalagi si audio guide nya bisa tiba2 kirim “1 new message” gitu surat2 Theo dan Vincent. Hubungan mereka berdua sbg sibling tuh kayaknya satu2 nya yang kept Vincent sane (enough) buat bertahan. :”)

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