Vincent van Gogh: letters, art, and context > Death

Theo van Gogh was present when Vincent died, on 29 July 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Two days earlier, Vincent had shot himself in the chest with a revolver. Theo had immediately taken the train from Paris to be with him. He wrote to his wife, who was staying in the Netherlands: “One of his last words was: this is how I wanted to go.” [letter b2067]

Van Gogh’s death
Van Gogh’s relationship with his family was sometimes strained, although it improved in the final years of his life. The letters that his family members wrote to each other following his death express their grief. They wrote to Theo that his loss must be the greatest of all, because he was closest to his brother.
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Van Gogh’s funeral
The painter Emile Bernard was one of the mourners at Vincent van Gogh’s funeral. He gave a detailed description of the day’s events in a letter to the art critic Gustave-Albert Aurier. Bernard wrote that Van Gogh’s last paintings were on display in the room with the coffin, and that there were yellow flowers everywhere. “That was his favourite colour, as you may recall.” [letter b3052]
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Letters of condolence
After Vincent’s death, Theo and Jo van Gogh-Bonger received numerous letters. Besides the letters of condolence from family members, 37 others have been preserved. Most of them came from artists who were friends of the two brothers, such as Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Isaac Israels, and George Breitner.
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