Tekening van de woning van Franq (links) en Decrucq (rechts)
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rue du Pavillon 3, Cuesmes

The building still exists and houses the Maison Van Gogh, a museum devoted to Vincent’s Borinage period.

Van Gogh in

Family Decrucq

  1. 1 Jul. 1880
     - 1 Oct. 1880

On his arrival in Cuesmes, Vincent found accommodation with Edouard Joseph Francq at Rue du Pavillon 5. He later rented a room from the neighbouring Decrucq family; it is not known exactlywhen he moved in. But, by then, he had decided – albeit irresolutely and on his brother Theo’s advice – to focus on his art. Thus, at the Decrucqs house, he diligently copied illustrations from Charles Bargues’s Excercises au fusain pour préparer à l’étude de l’académie d’après nature, published by the art dealers Goupil & Cie in 1871. He had borrowed the book from Tersteeg, his old boss at Goupil. Vincent also made sketches of labourers and, according to accounts, a drawing of the family he was staying with, The Decrucq family picking potatoes. The drawing has never been located; most of the works he made in the Borinage were destroyed. Vincent occasionally drew in his room and sometimes in the garden of the house. However, he did not believe he had enough space to work properly:

“It’s tiny as it is, and there are two beds, the children’s and mine. And now that I’m doing the Bargues, quite big sheets, I couldn’t tell you what a nuisance it is to me. I don’t want to bother the people in their household arrangements.” Read the complete letter

He was unable to use the other vacant room in the house, since it served as the familys laundry room. In October 1880, Vincent left Cuesmes, wanting more space and better light. He also longed to meet other artists from whom he could learn. He returned to Brussels, the city where his Belgian adventure had begun a few years earlier.

Relevant letters from Vincent

Continue reading

  1. Georges Duez

    Vincent van Gogh au Borinage
    Mons, 1986
  2. Geneviève Eeckaut

    Van Gogh au Borinage
    Marcinelle, 1990
  3. Sjraar van Heugten (red.)

    Van Gogh in de Borinage: de geboorte van een kunstenaar
    Brussel, 2015