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van Gogh’s sister-in-law


In Amsterdam, I fulfilled a longtime wish and visited the Vincent van Gogh Museum. Viewing so many of his paintings filled my sense. Plus I learned that van Gogh’s sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, is credited with propelling van Gogh’s work to worldwide acclaim! After Johanna’s husband, Theo, an art dealer, died shortly after Vincent’s death, leaving her with an infant and 200 paintings (then not considered valuable), Johanna edited and published the illuminating correspondence between Vincent and Theo, organized exhibitions of Vincent’s painting, and nurtured friendships with influential people in the art world. 

The picture is of a “weeper” on display at the impressive Rijksmuseum, which is near the van Gogh museum. The backstory is: when Isabella of Bourbon died in the mid-15th century, her husband had an elaborate tomb built, surrounded by bronze figures of grieving people, i.e., “weepers.”  I thought this one was pregnant, but then learned that a rounded belly was fashionable for rich women during medieval times.

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