Meet Vincent van Gogh’s mother during our Amsterdam Canal Cruise/ VIP day

Anna van Gogh-Carbentus (10-09-1819/29-04-1907)

  1. Her place of birth

Anna Carbentus was born in Den Haag, the capital of the Netherlands. She lived here till the age of 32 and there was a big chance that she would stay unmarried for the rest of her live. Mentally she was already preparing for this situation. Her 10 year younger sister was asked to marriage by Cent van Gogh, an art collector. Luckely Cent had an older brother, Dorus, who was also unmarried. Anna and Dorus met and decided to merry. At this time Anna already had the age of 32. She had to move from the capital to the country side to live there with her 3 year younder husband, who was a minister in the small village of Zundert.

  1. Her place of death

Anna died in Leiden and is burried in Leiden. After her husband passed away in Nuenen in 1884, Anna  moved to Breda to live together with her younger sister Cornelia. From the letters it is clear that Anna moved in 1889 to Leiden, where her oldest daughter Anna lived. In this way Vincent’s mother was close to her grand children. Anna, Vincent’s mother died at the age of 87.

  1. Her number of children

Anna gave birth to 7 children. Her first born son was called Vincent Willem, but died from the first moment at 30-3-1852. Exactly one year later Vincent Willem, the painter was born (30-3-1853); after this she gave birth to Anna (1855); Theo (1857): Lies (1859); Wil (1861) and Cor (1867) her benjamin who was born when Anna herself had the age of 47.

  1. Her character

Anna was known for her determined character and fulfilling ones duties was important for her. She grew up in a well educated environment in Den Haag and loved knitting, writing, drawing, reading, walking. For her religion was very important and fulfilling her duties.

  1. Her relationship with Vincent

Anna loved all her children equally. She prayed for them. Anyway Vincent gave her the most worries. Vincent was the most difficult in behavior of all of them. On the one hand he was sensitve and shy on the other hand weird and obsessive. In fact the same obsessiveness as Anna had. In her prayers she asked for friends from the same social class and an honorable profession for Vincent.

  1. Her inspiration for some of the paintings

Vincent made the above portrait of his mother, based on a photograph”, when he lived in Arles.

Besides the above painting, he made another painting “memories of a garden in Etten”. In this painting we see the influence of his friend Gaugain. In this painting we see 3 women, his mother and 2 of his sisters.


  1. Her last meeting with Vincent

Vincent left Nuenen in 1885 rather suddenly to move to Antwerpen and France, to never return to the Netherlands . In the autumn of 1885 it was the last time that they met.

When Vincent died in 1890 he had not seen his mother anymore. The only contact was by writing letters

  1. Her biggest grief in life

Her biggest grief, was that she lost her 4 sons during her life.

In 1852 she lost her first son Vincent in giving birth. She lost the painter at the age of 37. Theo died half a year later at the age of 33 in Utrecht. And Cor died during war in 1900.

  1. Her attitude towards the paintings

Anna thought it was most important to keep up the good reputation of the family and this meant that failure would put a shame on the family. Vincent was responsible for some failures. She could not appreciate the paintings and some of these paintings she even threw away.

  1. Her attitude towards the first successes

In 1892 when the first Van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam was organised, there were the first enthousiastic reactions. Vincent’s mother was still alive then, but could not appreciate his paintings and the so called success.

foto portret ML 2 juli

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