Souvenir de Mauve (left) and its repetition : Pink peach tree (right) are part of the Orchard series executed in Provence in the spring of 1888. Van Gogh worked with optimism on about 14 paintings of flowering trees, representing awakening and hope. In one of his letters to his brother Theo, he said “I feel I’m in Japan. That’s why (…) I don’t despair of success in this enterprise of going on a long journey in the south. Here I’m seeing new things, I’m learning ». While doing the series, he learnt of the passing of his cousin Anton Mauve, a painter too, who had helped him in his youth. Vincent dedicated a painting and sent it as a gift to his widow. He did a repetition of the painting in the next weeks and was done in April.
Meanwhile, in March 1888, Paul Gauguin wrote “I see that you’re in a good spot to study the sun that enchants you, and you’re working all the better because the subject grips you. (…) I’m in a state of constant agony here; money worries are the only ones that have an effect on me.(…) Pont-Aven is very dreary at the moment because of the bad weather, continual wind and rain, and I’m waiting for the fine days to get back to work, which I’ve neglected a bit owing to illness.”
Van Gogh: lust for life, Irving Stone
Vincent Souvenir de Mauve, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30" (102 x 76 cm)