The “Garden at Etten“ refers to the parsonage garden at Etten (now Etten-Leur) where Vincent's father Theodorus van Gogh, a pastor, had been called in 1875. The painting is plainly influenced by Gauguin's Arlésiennes (Mistral) painted at the same time. In his letters about the painting Vincent makes it clear he was at pains to use his imagination in the way Gauguin was countenancing. That summer Vincent had become infatuated with his recently widowed cousin Kee Vos-Stricker, daughter of the theologian Johannes Stricker, who had been invited to stay over the summer with her eight year-old son Jan. Vincent had last visited her in Amsterdam some three years before while her husband was still alive (there is a family photo extant dating from 1872 thought to show Vincent side by side with Kee), but now her new situation stirred his tender feelings and romantic disposition. They took pleasant walks together and within the fortnight Vincent proposed marriage. She famously rebuffed him with a curt “No, at no time, never“, abruptly taking her leave for Amsterdam and never dealing with him again. Vincent's obsessive attempts to press his suit eventually became a matter of family scandal, culminating in a bitter quarrel with his father on Christmas Day and his leaving the family home to set up his proposed studio in The Hague instead.