discover the places where Vincent lived and worked

Nuenen, The Netherlands

  • July 1, 1884 - July 31, 1884
  • January 1, 1970

Margaretha “Margot” Begemann (1841–1907) was Vincent van Gogh’s neighbour in Nuenen. While his mother was in bed with a broken thigh bone in July 1884, Margot took over the sewing lessons Mrs. Van Gogh usually gave. During this period, Vincent and Margot fell in love, and he even proposed marriage.

Margot frequently suffered from nervousness and mood swings. On a walk in September 1884, she had an attack, and Vincent discovered that she had attempted to commit suicide by swallowing poison. He forced her to vomit and consulted a doctor. To prevent anyone in the village from hearing of the incident, she was taken to another doctor in Utrecht on the excuse of a business trip. Vincent visited Margot in Utrecht. She did not return to Nuenen until March 1885.

Vincent wrote:

“It’s a pity that I didn’t meet her earlier — say 10 years ago or so. Now she gives me the impression of a Cremona violin that’s been spoiled in the past by bad bunglers of restorers. And in the condition in which I met her, it seems to me, a good deal too much had been bungled. But originally it was a rare example of great value. And she still has much value even so.”
Read the complete letter

Years later, while living in France, Vincent asked his family how Margot was doing. He also wrote in 1889 that he wanted her to have one of his pieces. She is known to have possessed two of Vincent's early works, The old church tower at Nuenen with a ploughman and Cottage.


Ton de Brouwer
Van Gogh en Nuenen
Venlo, 1984­­­­­

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