From National Museum of Wales:
In May 1890 Van Gogh moved from Arles in Provence to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris. There he lodged at the Café Ravoux and received treatment from Dr Paul-Ferdinand Gachet. Between 17 June and 27 July, Van Gogh painted thirteen double-square canvases of the gardens and fields around Auvers. In his last letter he expressed himself 'quite absorbed in the immense plain with wheat fields against the hills, boundless as a sea, delicate yellow, delicate soft green, the delicate violet of a dug-up and weeded piece of soil'. His treatment of the rain as diagonal strokes derives from the woodcut Bridge in the Rain by the Japanese artist Hiroshige, which the artist had copied in 1887. The atmosphere recalls one of Van Gogh's favourite poems, Longfellow's The Rainy Day 'My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary...Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.'
Van Gogh shot himself and died on 29 July 1890, shortly after painting this work.
Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh. Paris, Tuesday, 22 July 1890.
My dear Vincent,
From Holland Jo sent me your letter, which had followed us, and I read it with some surprise. Where did you see these violent domestic quarrels? That we were very tired by uninterrupted preoccupations on the subject of all our futures, yes; that I didn’t really know where my interest lay with this affair as regards the company, yes, but really I don’t see the intense domestic quarrels you speak of. Is it the discussion with Dries? Certainly I’d wanted to see him a little bolder in undertaking something, but that’s how it is, and it’s no reason to break with him. Is it perhaps, but I can’t believe it, that you consider it an intense domestic quarrel that Jo asked you not to put the Prévost in the place where you wanted to hang it? She hadn’t thought to hurt you with that, and certainly would have preferred you to leave it there than to get angry about it. Her child preoccupies her too much for her to have much time to think about painting, and although she already sees much better than she used to, she doesn’t always see immediately what’s in it. No, if it was that trifle I would tell you to stop it, for it’s not worth the trouble of bothering with it. I hope, my dear Vincent, that your health is good, and as you said that you’re writing with difficulty and don’t speak to me about your work, I’m a little afraid that there’s something that’s bothering you or that isn’t going right. In that case, do go and see Dr Gachet, he’ll perhaps give you something that will buck you up again. Give me news of you as soon as possible.
Last Tuesday I took Jo and the child to Leiden and stayed there until Thursday. Mother has indeed aged a little, but she was so pleased to see her grandson, and it was amusing to see how she took him and made him happy. Wil was also well and was very kind to us. Jo stayed with them for another day after I left, and then left for Amsterdam where she still is. I hope that everyone is making efforts not to tire her but is allowing her a little rest, she had such need of it, for it’s hard labour, I assure you. Unfortunately, like here, the weather isn’t settled there, so that she can’t be out in the open air much and nor can the child. I think that it might well be that she wishes to come back sooner than we’d planned, but it’s good on the other hand that her house here pleases her more than that of her parents. I’ll be very pleased when she’s back, for the house is so deserted! And I miss the little one too. Our life, precisely through this child, is so closely bound together that you mustn’t be afraid that one small disagreement, if you saw one, might occasion a divergence that will make conciliation difficult. So don’t think about that any more. As for me, the journey to Holland has done me a lot of good and made me take a lot of rest, which I very much needed. Let’s hope that the health of all of us may improve, for health is a great deal. Enclosed I’m sending you 50 francs – write to me quickly, and believe me your brother who loves you.