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De Wheem 10, Zweeloo

The little church in Zweeloo still exists and is still in use.

Van Gogh in

The Church Zweeloo

  1. 1 Nov. 1883 1883

On 1 November 1883, Vincent took a day trip from Nieuw-Amsterdam and Veenoord to the village of Zweeloo, riding along with his landlord, Hendrik Scholte. Vincent enthusiastically wrote to his brother about the day passing by “like a dream”:

“The dwellings here are very wide, among oak trees of a superb bronze. Tones of golden green in the moss, of reddish or bluish or yellowish dark lilac greys in the soil, tones of inexpressible purity in the green of the little wheatfields. Tones of black in the wet trunks, standing out against golden showers of whirling, swirling autumn leaves, which still hang in loose tufts, as if they were blown there, loosely and with the sky shining through them, on poplars, birches, limes, apple trees. The sky unbroken, clear, illuminating, not white but a lilac that cannot be deciphered, white in which one sees swirling red, blue, yellow, which reflects everything and one feels above one everywhere, which is vaporous and unites with the thin mist below. Brings everything together in a spectrum of delicate greys.” Read the complete letter

Vincent hoped to encounter fellow artists in Zweeloo, and in particular Max Liebermann, about whom he had heard much from his brother Theo. But he did not meet Liebermann or any other artists and rather than waiting for a lift back, he left on foot.

Vincent made various drawings during his day trip. He sketched an apple orchard that Liebermann had also painted and made a drawing of a spinning woman. Vincent also sketched the Dutch Reformed church in Zweeloo. It reminded him of Jean-Francois Millet’s painting L’Eglise de Greville, which he had seen in Paris. Vincent’s sketch depicts a shepherd passing by the church with his flock, while Millet’s painting features a farmer with a shovel.

Made here

Shepherd with flock near the little church at Zweeloo, 1883

Shepherd with flock near the little church at Zweeloo, 1883

Mixed media, 25 x 31,5

    Relevant letters from Vincent

    Continue reading

    1. Wout J. Dijk en Meent Wilhelm van der Sluis

      Van Gogh in Zweeloo; In de voetsporen van Liebermann
      In: Waardeel: Drents historisch tijdschrift, 1999, afl.1, pp. 1-6
    2. Wout J. Dijk en Meent Wilhelm van der Sluis

      De Drentse tijd van Vincent van Gogh 1883
      Groningen, 2001