One of Van Gogh’s most beautiful paintings and one that today is renowned among the most popular selling prints is Van Gogh’s “Almond Blossom.” Painted in Saint-Rémy, France in February of 1890, this painting was created by Van Gogh in the last year of his life. Originally painted as a gift for his brother Theo’s newborn son, Almond Blossom, shown here, is an oil on canvas painting inspired by Japanese prints with a blue background and almond branches covered in blossoms in the foreground.
After by the birth of his nephew, Van Gogh wrote the following in a letter to his mother from February 20, 1890,
“I imagine that, like me, your thoughts are much with Jo and Theo: how glad I was when the news came that it had ended well: it was a good thing that Wil stayed on. I should have greatly preferred him to call the boy after Father, of whom I have been thinking so much these days, instead of after me; but seeing it has now been done, I started right away to make a picture for him, to hang in their bedroom, big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky.”
Theo named the newborn Vincent after his brother, and Vincent seemed quite proud to share this painting with him as it was a symbol of new life and the coming of spring. In a letter to his brother Theo from March 15 of 1890 Van Gogh wrote,
“My work was going well, the last canvas of branches in blossom – you will see that it was perhaps the best, the most patiently worked thing I had done, painted with calm and with a greater firmness of touch.”
Today Almond Blossom, or Blossoming Almond Tree as it is often called, can be seen at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.