In Auvers, Van Gogh was producing art at breakneck speed. His work was both daring and energetic, forceful and tender. The Church at Auvers, the Portrait of Dr Gachet and Wheatfield with Crows, the three jewels of an extraordinary collection of more than seventy paintings, would later join the ranks of the most iconic artworks in the world.
But the artist’s apparent tranquillity, quietly being eaten away by his illness, concealed great anger and unease. He worried that he would not be able to transform his present acclaim into long-term success. His brother Theo, who had been providing him with moral and financial support for around a decade, was at the time overwhelmed by complications in his own professional and family life and was unable to reassure him.
On the evening of Sunday 27 July 1890, with complete clarity of mind, having spent the day working on his last paintings, Tree Roots and a View of Auvers - probably Thatched Cottages in Jorgus - Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He died two days later in his little attic room with his brother Theo at his side.
Vincent Van Gogh,
extract from a letter to his brother Theo,
Auvers-sur-Oise, 10 July 1890