Searching for an alternative to his confinement at Saint-Rémy, in May 1890 Van Gogh leaves for Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris. The location is ideal; he is removed from the immoderate pace of life in Paris, but close enough that he can easily visit Theo. Van Gogh places himself in the care of Paul Gachet, a homeopathic physician and himself an amateur painter. Van Gogh warms to Gachet immediately, writing to Theo that he had "found a perfect friend in Dr. Gachet, something like another brother." Gachet advises Van Gogh to put his ailment out of his mind and concentrate entirely on his painting.
The need to paint
Van Gogh sets about painting portraits of his new acquaintances and the local landscape, including nearby wheatfields and the garden of the painter Daubigny. Working with great intensity, he produces nearly a painting a day over the next two months. A series of 12 canvases in a distinctive panoramic format celebrates country life: "I'm all but certain that in those canvases I have formulated what I cannot express in words, namely how healthy and heartening I find the countryside." Although he worries that he might again become mentally unstable, Van Gogh briefly enjoys a peaceful period.
In early June, Van Gogh visited Theo, who was tired of working at Boussod and thinking about going into business for himself. He warned Van Gogh that they would all have to tighten their belts. Van Gogh was deeply troubled by Theo’s dissatisfaction and became very worried: “…but my life too is threatened at its very root, and my step is unsteady too.” On 27 July 1890, Van Gogh walked into a wheat field and shot himself in the chest. He staggered back to his room, where two days later, on 29 July, he died with Theo at his side. He was buried in Auvers the next day. Among the mourners were Lucien Pissarro, Emile Bernard and Père Tanguy. Bernard later described Van Gogh’s coffin, covered with yellow flowers, and his easel and brushes lying on the ground next to the casket. Van Gogh’s paintings were left to Theo. His work would ultimately have a profound influence on groundbreaking artists of the twentieth century.
Theo holds a memorial exhibition of Van Goghs paintings in September 1890 in his Paris apartment. His own health suffers a precipitous decline, and on January 25, 1891, Theo dies. His widow returns to the Netherlands with their infant son and her husband's legacy, the collection of Van Goghs paintings. After Jo's death in 1925 the collection is inherited by her son, Vincent Willem van Gogh (1890-1978). On the initiative of the Dutch state, which pledges to build a museum devoted to Van Gogh, Vincent Willem van Gogh, in 1962, transfers the works he owns to the newly formed Vincent van Gogh Foundation. Construction of the museum building, designed by the modernist Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, begins in 1969. The museum officially opens its doors in 1973. Since then, the building houses the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, on loan from the Vincent van Gogh Foundation.