On January 31, 1890, Theo wrote to Vincent of the birth of his son, whom he had named Vincent Willem. Van Gogh, who was extremely close to his younger brother, immediately set about making him a painting of his favorite subject: blossoming branches against a blue sky. The gift was meant to hang over the couple’s bed. As a symbol of this new life, Vincent chose an almond tree, which blooms early in southern regions, announcing the coming spring as early as February.
“At present I’m busy with the fruit trees in blossom – I follow no system of brushwork at all – I’m inclined to think that the result is sufficiently worrying and annoying not to please people with preconceived ideas about technique.”
Vincent van Gogh to Emile Bernard. Arles, on or about Thursday, 12 April 1888