Vincent van Gogh - Trees part 2

Vincent van Gogh painted at least 18 paintings of olive trees, mostly in Saint-Rémy in 1889. At his own request, he lived at an asylum there from May 1889 through May 1890 painting the gardens of the asylum and, when he had permission to venture outside its walls, nearby olive trees, cypresses and wheat fields:

"The effect of daylight and the sky means there are endless subjects to be found in olive trees. For myself I look for the contrasting effects in the foliage, which changes with the tones of the sky. At times, when the tree bares its pale blossoms and big blue flies, emerald fruit beetles and cicadas in great numbers fly about, everything is immersed in pure blue. Then, as the bronzer foliage takes on more mature tones, the sky is radiant and streaked with green and orange, and then again, further into autumn, the leaves take on violet tones something of the colour of a ripe fig, and this violet effect manifests itself most fully with the contrast of the large, whitening sun within its pale halo of light lemon. Sometimes, too, after a shower I've seen the whole sky pink and orange, which gave an exquisite value and colouring to the silvery grey-greens. And among all this were women, also pink, who were gathering the fruit.”

This is part 2 of a 2-part post. For earlier works see part 1 also.

1889 Olive Grove, Orange Sky oil on canvas 74 x 93 cm

1889 Olive Grove oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

1889 Olive Grove with Two Olive Pickers oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

1889 Olive Grove, Pale Blue Sky oil on canvas 72.7 x 92.1 cm
Van Gogh painted three versions of women picking olives. The first, he described as an on-the-spot study "in deeper tones from nature". The second painting is "the most resolved and stylised of the three," and was intended for his sister and mother. The third, he painted in his studio in December in a "very discreet colour scheme.”

1889 Olive Pickers (1 December) oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

1889 Olive Pickers (2 December) oil on canvas 72.4 x 89.9 cm

1889 Olive Picking oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

1889 Olive Trees (September) oil on canvas 53.5 x 64.5 cm

1889 Olive Trees against a Slope of a Hill oil on canvas 33.5 x 40 cm

1889 Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun oil on canvas 73.7 x 92.7 cm

1889 Orchard in Bloom with Poplars oil on canvas 72 x 92 cm

1889 Olive Trees oil on canvas 51 x 65.2 cm

1889 Pine Trees against an Evening Sky oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm
Of The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground Van Gogh wrote his brother Theo: "I did a landscape with olive trees and also a new study of a starry sky," calling this painting the daylight complement to the nocturnal, The Starry Night. His intention was to go beyond "the photographic and silly perfection of some painters" to an intensity born of coloor and linear rhythms.

Within the painting, twisted green olive trees stand before the foothills of the Alpilles and underneath the sky with an "ectoplasmic" cloud. Later, when the pictures had dried, he sent both of them to Theo in Paris, noting: "The olive trees with the white cloud and the mountains behind, as well as the rise of the moon and the night effect, are exaggerations from the point of view of the general arrangement; the outlines are accentuated as in some old woodcuts.”

1889 The Alpilles with Olive Trees in the Foreground oil on canvas 72.5 x 92 cm

1889 Starry Night oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

1889 Study of Pine Trees oil on canvas 46 x 51 cm

1889 The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital oil on canvas 95 x 75.5 cm

1889 The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital oil on canvas 64.5 x 49 cm

1889 The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital with Figure oil on canvas 61 x 50 cm

1889 The Garden of the Asylum in Saint-Remy oil on canvas 73.5 x 92 cm

1889 The Garden of the Asylum in Saint-Remy oil on canvas 71.5 x 90.5 cm

1889 The Grounds of the Asylum oil on canvas 90.2 x 73.3 cm

1889 The Road Menders oil on canvas 73.7 x 92 cm

1889 The Walk, Falling Leaves oil on canvas 73.5 x 60.5 cm

1889 Trees in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital oil on canvas 73 x 60 cm

1889 Two Poplars on a Hill oil on canvas 61 x 45.5 cm
Van Gogh explored the grounds of the asylum where he found an overgrown garden. He wrote, "Since I have been here, I have had enough work with the overgrown garden with its large pine trees, under which there grows tall and poorly-tended grass, mixed with all kinds of periwinkle." The paintings are of growth below ivy-covered trees.

1889 Tree Trunks with Ivy oil on canvas 45 x 60 cm

1889 Underfrowth with Ivy

1889 Undergrowth with Ivy oil on canvas 45 x 60 cm

1889 Undergrowth with Ivy oil on canvas 49 x 64 cm
Blossoming Almond Tree is one of Vincent van Gogh's best known paintings and is noteworthy in that both Van Gogh and his closest family held the work in high regard. This painting is one of a small handful that Van Gogh produced with a particular person in mind--in this case, his brother and sister-in-law's newborn baby. Van Gogh was deeply moved when Theo and Johanna chose to name the child Vincent and he always harboured a great deal of affection for the child. Van Gogh painted Blossoming Almond Tree to honour his namesake and it remains a tour-de-force, both the product of Vincent's fondness for his nephew as well as the Japanese art which he so greatly admired.

1890 Blossoming Almond Tree oil on canvas 73.5 x 92

1890 Blossoming Acacia Branches oil on canvas 32.5 x 24 cm

1890 Blossoming Chestnut Branches oil on canvas 72 x 91 cm

1890 Chestnut Trees in Bloom oil on canvas 63 x 50.5 cm

1890 Chestnut Trees in Bloom oil on canvas 70 x 58 cm

1890 Cypresses and Two Women oil on canvas 43.5 x 27 cm

1890 Cypress against a Starry Sky oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm

1890 Doctor Gachet's Garden in Auvers oil on canvas 73 x 51.5 cm

1890 Landscape with Three Trees and a House oil on canvas 64 x 78 cm

1890 The Grove 73 x 92 cm

1890 Field with Trees, the Chateau of Auvers oil on canvas 50 x 101 cm

1890 Tree Roots and Trunks oil on canvas 50 x 100 cm

1890 Undergrowth with Two Figures oil on canvas 50 x 100.5 cm

1890 Tree Trunks in the Grass oil on canvas 72 x 90 cm

-->

Comments