Postcard reveals site of Van Gogh's 'farewell note in colour' before suicide

Upper- advanced
2020/08/03 13:54

Today's Vocabulary

1. gnarled (adj) 
rough and twisted, especially because of old age or no protection from bad weather


2. converge (v) 
to move
 toward the same point and come closer together or meet 

3. sprouts (v)
to begin to grow, or to produce new growth

4. coppiced (n)
an area of closely planted trees in which the trees are cut back regularly to provide wood

5. digitise (v) 
to put information
into the form  of a series of the numbers  0 and 1, usually so that it can be understood  and used by a computer 



Postcard reveals site of Van Gogh's 'farewell note in colour' before suicide

Stuck at home during lockdown, Dutch researcher Wouter van der Veen finally found time to look through old postcards of the French village where Vincent van Gogh died and made a remarkable discovery.

One postcard showing gnarled roots and tree trunks along a road in Auvers-sur-Oise, close to Paris, bore a remarkable similarity to the Dutch artist’s last painting Tree Roots.

“Like everyone else in France, I was in lockdown and used that time to digitise the postcards, when I recognised the outlines of the tree roots on the card. It was in black-and-white, but the shapes were the same,” said Van der Veen.

His colleague Louis van Tilborgh, art history professor at Amsterdam University, said the museum initially was cautious, but that the trees’ outline, the location near the inn, research by a tree specialist and letters from Van Gogh relatives all converge to identify the spot.

Van der Veen said the painting’s theme of coppiced trees seems to be a message from Van Gogh, a farewell note in colour about death and regeneration.

“When you chop firewood from a trunk, new growth sprouts. His message was that his work was done. Later that day, in cornfields nearby, he shot himself in the chest,” he said.


  1. Is there a significant importance of the things in the past to the present?
  2. Do you know Vincent Van Gogh and his paintings?

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent Willem van Gogh