He arrived in December 1878.  He first stayed at the pastorate and then, the same month, moved to Wasmes, where he was hired in February 1879 as an evangelist for a trial period of six months. His candidacy was not accepted, so van Gogh moved to Cuesmes in August 1879 to work for free as a preacher.

There remain very few of the works he produced during this time as van Gogh himself destroyed most of them. Of the ones that are attested, we could name:
  • The coke factory la gagagne in Flénu,  produced  in the summer of 1879, currently in the van Gogh museum, Amsterdam.
  • Miners in the snow, “scrawls” enclosed with the letter to his brother Theo dated September 1880.
  • The reaper, inspired from Jean-François Millet’s works, currently at the Uehera Museum of Modern Art, Japan.
  • The diggers, inspired from Jean-François Millet’s works, and which is part of the city of Mons’s collections, was produced during his stay in Brussels. The original is currently in the Artothèque (Art Library).
The Borinage is not just the place where van Gogh the artist was born. It was also here that he first framed his artistic conceptions. In his later works, one can still perceive the echo of the patterns inspired from the area: the daily lives of miners, workers, peasants, weavers, as well as their modest housing. In his later days in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Auvers-sur-Oise, Van gogh still enjoyed copying the engravings of artists that inspired him in his early days, such as those of Jean François Millet.