The statue by Ossip Zadkine stands on the Vincent van Goghplein in Zundert, in front of the Van Gogh Church, and not far from the house where both of them were born. It was unveiled on 28 May 1969 by Queen Juliana and the Mayor of Zundert, G.J.A. Manders, and in the presence of Ossip Zadkine.
The work of art, which includes a thick base, is cast from bronze, and without its pedestal is about two and a half metres high. The whole statue has weathered in a bronze green, a colour that over the years has spread to the lightly coloured pedestal. The lines, the expressive hands and the space between the men’s bodies remind us of Zadkine’s statue The Devastated City (De Verwoeste Stad) in Rotterdam. The two men in the Zundert statue are holding hands, and their heads touch. The man seen on the right from the front is wearing a collar as an indication of citizenship. Zadkine did not try to portray a likeness to the Van Goghs’ faces.
The men are walking in front of the church and right across the square, somewhat aloof. There are plenty of references to the Van Gogh family in the vicinity. Both the church and the square carry the name, and the brothers’ father preached in the church. The direction they are facing suggests they may be walking back to their parents’ house which was less than a hundred metres away. The house has since been demolished but in its place there is now the Vincent van GoghHuis, a museum, visitor centre and documentation centre. Behind them the grave of their stillborn brother, who was also called Vincent, is in the churchyard where the artist had found a quiet place to play as a child.
The solid stone pedestal is about a metre and a half high and at the bottom bears an inscription in French from the last letter that Vincent never sent to his brother Theo:
"par mon intermédiaire tu as ta part à la production même de certaines toiles qui même dans la débâcle gardent leur calme".
The pedestal is made from solid stone from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where Vincent van Gogh was treated for a year and where he made many paintings. It contains a tube with soil from the hospital grounds of the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole monastery.