Arts Everyday Living: Van Gogh, In Search of Family—The Ideal Mother?

Click on the work of art to enlarge it.



When Mrs. Roulin also left, to go and live with her mother in the country for the time being, she took away the Berceuse.  I had the sketch of it and two repetitions.  She had a good eye and took the best one, only I’m currently redoing it…..

Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo, February 25, 1889




Vincent van Gogh was obsessed with painting Madame Roulin, the wife of his loyal friend postman Joseph Roulin (see: second blog today), representing her as the ideal of motherhood. La Berceuse or Woman Rocking a Cradle above is only one of five similar portraits found in art museums in the Netherlands (2) and the United States (3). Although it is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this work once hung on the walls of her mother’s country home where Madame Roulin temporarily stayed while her husband was working at a new job in Marseille.


To discover more about the Roulin family, click on this exhibition:

Van Gogh Repetitions, Phillips Collection

And to meet postman Roulin, see our related blog,

Van Gogh: A Portrait of Friendship

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), La Berceuse, 1889, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The above image is used solely for educational purposes.


A solution to your holiday shopping!

Book Cover Through an Artist's Eyes

This is a wonderful “first read” for students new to the world of the visual arts and an enjoyable reunion for those who are lovers of the arts and seek to revitalize themselves…..

Ruth Dealy, Director of Adult Education