This drawing, Study of a Tree, was done in 1882 while Van Gogh was living at The Hague. He was living with with Clasina Maria Hoornik and the
relationship was a turbulent one and would ultimately end in separation. Van Gogh definitely showed his unhappiness in this painting. This piece
of drawing was done at the same time with a larger version of Sorrow. In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh mentioned he wanted to express
something of life's struggles in these paintings. He also quoted as this:
"Frantically and fervently rooting itself, as it were, in the earth, and yet being half torn up by the storm. I wanted to express something of life's struggle, both in that white, slender female figure and in those gnarled black roots with their knots. Or rather, because I tried without any philosophizing to be true to nature, which I had before me, something of that great struggle has come into both of them almost inadvertently. At least it seemed to me that there was some sentiment in it, though I may be mistaken, anyway, you'll have to see for yourself."