Almond Blossom, 1890

The picture postcard of this painting is the best selling reproduction in the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. This is entirely understandable; few paintings of Van Gogh radiate such an uncompromised ‘joy de vivre’.

The occasion for which Vincent made this optimistic work is in complete harmony with its expressive power. The budding almond blossom symbolises new life and it was inspired by the birth of his nephew, Vincent. This painting was a gift to the couple that they were to hang in their bedroom.

Vincent chose to depict the criss crossed branches as a maze under the deep blue sky. The twigs almost seem to be sculpted with paint, an effect that can only be experienced with the impasto technique.

The baby for whom ‘Almond Blossom’ was made, later became the founder of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Through his efforts, a large part of the paintings created by his uncle are still together, for everyone to appreciate in the Van Gogh museum.

By Fred Leeman Former Chief Curator of the Van Gogh Museum 11-08-2015