Van Gogh in Nuenen, The Netherlands
- December 5, 1883 - November 24, 1885
In December 1883, Vincent left Drenthe for his parents’ house in Nuenen. It was a bold step, for he had not been to see them since Christmas 1881 (when they still lived in Etten). He did not meet with a warm reception, but his parents allowed him to stay and to set up a studio in the mangle room.
Though family relations were not as good as they might have been, Vincent soon decided he wanted to stay in Nuenen because he loved the surroundings and the people. In weaving mills, on the land, and in his studio, he diligently worked producing studies of typical Brabant residents. He also went out into the countryside and painted landscapes. He was particularly concerned with the effects of colour. Confident in his abilities thanks to the numerous figure studies he had made, he produced the large figure painting The Potato Eaters.
Vincent often went to Eindhoven, where he bought paint and gave art lessons to Willem van de Wakker, Anton Kerssemakers and Antoon Hermans. He also designed paintings for the dining room in Hermans’ house.
Vincent depended on his brother Theo financially, for he remained unable to sell his work. The lack of sales caused tension between Vincent and Theo, and Vincent reproached Theo forcefully. Still, Theo, who was working as an art dealer in Paris, continued to send Vincent 150 francs every month in exchange for a few pieces. They agreed that every painting Vincent made would henceforth be Theo’s property.
After working at his parents’ house for a while, Vincent began looking for a larger studio. He soon found one, which he rented from Johannes Schafrat. After his father died of a heart attack in March 1885, Vincent moved out and went to live in his studio. He fantasised about moving to Antwerp in the hopes of selling work there and continuing to study. He finally left for the city on 24 November 1885.