2017 Residency Van Gogh House (Zundert)

Spring 2017 I stayed at the house in Zundert where the Van Gogh family lived and Vincent was born. In many respects it was an emotional time of my life. More than once I read the impressive letters Vincent wrote to his parents and his brother Theo; the grave of the first, still-born Vincent is next to the Zundert Church where his father was a parson; my father started to have severe health problems; and there was a plan to build next to the church, which would imply changes in the ground water situation, threatening the old trees around the church and the house.

Everything seemed to circle around questions of life and death. In more ways than one my concept of Preserved Place came into focus again. I sketched the trees around the church as one impressive view out of a six part window. I started to catalogue every kind of tree around the house, in the cemetery, in the kitchen garden, by drawing the typical structures of their branches.

I felt a big urge to draw all this for my family, for the people of Zundert I made contact with and who helped me, for all people who love places like this. I also made representational drawings of windows, walls, the lights and the spaces in the house, the church spire between the tree branches. I focussed so intensely on the atmosfere of the place, that some of the drawings seem to remind one of Vincent’s time. But always there is a step towards abstraction – I am just too aware that nature is more than what you see and experience.