On establishing himself in Arles it had been Van Gogh's dream to set up a community of artists, a joint studio where artists could work together, exchanging ideas and encouraging each other in
their work and sales. He had pinned his hopes on Gauguin settling with him, and had immersed himself in the task of preparing his little
Yellow House in readiness for the artist.
Finally, Gauguin arrived on 23 October 1888 to find Van Gogh in a state of near nervous exhaustion brought on by the excitement of his friend's arrival. Memory of the Garden at Etten was painted in November, a few weeks after Gauguin had moved in with Van Gogh and shows his influence, and also something of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-98), an artist that both Van Gogh and Gauguin greatly admired. Both artists painted the subject, working side-by-side, but it was an arrangement that would not last long. By mid-October Gauguin had written to Theo explaining that the two were simply incompatible and that he would soon be returning to Paris.