When Vincent came to Nuenen on 5 December 1883, he moved in with his parents in the parsonage of the Dutch Reformed Church. He met with a chilly reception, and the tension between Vincent and his parson father was high. Still, in mid-December, his parents gave him their mangle room to use as a studio.
The room was damp and cold, modifications were made before Vincent began working; a wooden footrest, a stove and a bed were installed. The studio was situated amidst the cesspit, the privy, the coalhole and the drain, and after a few months, Vincent sighed,
“my powers of imagination aren’t strong enough to think this an improvement on the situation last year.” Read the complete letter
In a letter to his brother Theo on 20 March 1884, Vincent wrote that he looked forward to having a larger studio so that he could more easily work with models. He got his chance in mid-May, when he found a new studio available for rent from the Catholic sexton Johannes Schafrat. After Vincent’s father died on 26 March 1885, tensions at home reached breaking point, and Vincent moved into his studio full time. While living there, he occasionally visited the parsonage, and relations with his family gradually improved.
Vincent produced one painting of the parsonage and several of its sizeable garden, including 1885’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in the Snow.
His mother and his sister Willemien moved from Nuenen to Breda on 30 March 1886. By then, Vincent had left Nuenen, having moved to Antwerp on 24 November 1885.