“I’m going to cover the white walls of the room that you will sleep in, or Gauguin when he comes, with nothing but paintings of large yellow sunflowers,” Van Gogh promised his brother Theo in a letter (534). “And then you will see these large pictures of bunches of twelve or fourteen sunflowers, filling the tiny room along with a pretty bed, everything else all very elegant….I want to make it into a real artist’s house…everything—from the chairs to the pictures—should have character.”
Vase with twelve sunflowers (public domain photo)
Later he wrote (letter 573) “… Gauguin was especially taken with [the sunflowers]… As you know, peonies are Jeannin’s, hollyhocks are Quost’s, and sunflowers, well, sunflowers are mine.”
Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (public domain photo)
His friend the painter Bernard describes Vincent’s funeral. All around his coffin were…sunflowers!
“On Wednesday, 30 July, I arrived in Auvers around ten o’clock…The coffin had already been closed. I was too late to set eyes once more on the man who took his leave of me so full of hope three years ago. All of his last paintings had been hung on the walls of the room where the coffin lay; they formed a kind of halo about him, and by virtue of the radiant genius they emanated, they made his death even more unbearable for us artists. A plain white cloth was draped on the coffin and there were a great many flowers—sunflowers, which he was so fond of.”
Vase with Three Sunflowers (public domain photo)
..Vase with Three Sunflowers