The Sorrow – 1882



The Sorrow (1882)
Vincent was 29 years old
Pencil, pen and ink on paper
44.5cm x 27cm (17.5in x 10.6in)
Currently at The New Art Gallery Walsall, England
Vincent, after having been devastated by Kee-vos Stricker; his cousin and a recently widowed mother of a child at the time of his proposal, he soon found a prostitute which he fell in love and sympathetic. Sien (the prostitute) at beginning seem to settle with life together with Vincent, but only to find herself return to her former business and heavy drinking. He drew this image of her titled the “Sorrow” without revealing the face (which makes it relatable), with lifeless bosom, swollen belly and uncared hair to describe the devastation of those left neglected in life, by her men. At one point he wanted to plan the future together with her until his Reverend father and dear brother Theo convinced him of his choice
Here’s how Vincent coped with his choice: “Which is the more cultured, more sensitive, and manlier: to desert a woman or concern oneself with one who has been deserted? Last winter I met a pregnant woman, deserted by the man whose child she was carrying. A pregnant woman who walked the streets in winter – she had her bread to ear, you’ll know how.” (May, 3rd – 12th, 1882)
“When first I met this woman, she caught my eye because she looked ill. I made her take baths and as many restoratives as I could manage, and she has become healthier. I went with her to Leyden, wehre there is a maternity hospital in which she will be confined. Small wonder she wasn’t well, the child was in the wrong position, that is , the child had to be turned around b forceps. But there is a good chance she will pull through.”
Some speculations developed whether the child in pregnancy was of Vincent’s blood but it’s clear that prior to their first encounter on the street, she was already pregnant from her past
Bottom Inscription:

“Comment se fait-il qu’il y ait sur la terre une femme seule, délaissée?”

“How can there be on earth a woman alone, abandoned?”



10 thoughts on “The Sorrow – 1882

  1. He was incredibly compassionate. Of course, he was also marginalized and therefore able to understand others. Not many people, though, would actually have taken the time to help her. This is another facet of him that I wasn’t aware of, so thanks for posting!

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  3. Pingback: The Hague – 1883, February – GLOGH

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