Memory of the Garden at Etten Vincent van Gogh Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The initial intention of the memory of the garden at Etten painting was to serve as a decoration for Van Gogh's bedroom in the Yellow House. The garden at Etten refers to the parish garden in Etten (today Etten-Leur), which was appointed in 1875 by Vincent's father's pastor Theodorus.

Gauguin's arrival was on October 23, 1888. He found Van Gogh in a state of anxious fatigue, triggered by the enjoyment of his friend's coming. The memory of the garden in Etten was written in November, some weeks after Gauguin moved to Van Gogh, and shows his encouragement as well as something by Pierre de Chavannes (1824-98). This was an artist who both Gauguin and Van Gogh admired. Both artists painted the theme as they worked side by side, however it was a plan that was not to last for a long time. By mid-October, Gauguin informed Theo in writing that they were incompatible and he would soon return to Paris.

The painting was made in Arles, Provence, where Van Gogh began in February 1888 with a fifteen-month insane painting - despite overpainting or perhaps due to nervous crises and depression, he created more than 200 paintings. This picture is reminiscent of his local Holland and his parents' house garden located at Etten.

Impressions of the artist from the bright sun and the colours of the south combined with homesickness. He worked in Arles alongside Gauguin and was heavily influenced by his style, which is visible in a flattened room and wide colour areas with thick contours. Van Gogh's dominant romantic personality, however, required a more dramatic expression in Gauguin's works, and he made use of intense colours and coarse surface textures to make an individual arty language that expressed both drama and the energy of life.

In the picture of Gauguin, Madame Gina, who ran the Cafe de la Gar, where Vincent lived, recognizes the figure of an elderly woman, whom he and Gauguin continue to support after moving to the neighbouring Yellow House. The figures of Vincent are usually considered his sister Willemen and mother. However, Vincent's biographer Marc Tralbaut felt that the young woman, knowingly or unconsciously, was a representative of Kee Vos Stricker. He puzzled over it in a letter to his sister.

In a memo to his sister, Vincent Van Gogh clarified that the colours and the motifs have definite meanings. Dusky Purple, Brightly Colored with Canary Dahlia displayed her mother's personality, while Green and Red represented Wil as a character from Dickens novel. In conclusion, this painting can be found at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. This museum is found at the general staff building in room 413.