Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vincent van Gogh, Olive Orchard

Vincent van Gogh
Dutch, 1853-1890

Olive Orchard, 1889
Oil on canvas

This is a late work by van Gogh created at a time when his style was at its most agitated and expressive. It is one of a series of olive orchards painted while the artist was a patient at the asylum at Saint Remy de Provence, where he had committed himself after a series of mental breakdowns.
Van Gogh refers to the painting in a letter of July 1889 as an orchard of olive trees with gray leaves, "their violet shadows laying on the sunny sand". These shadows admirably convey the scorching heat of the Provencal sun, and the repetitive, rectangular brush strokes establish curving patterns of energy that heighten the emotional effect.

This work can be seen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references taken from the museum.

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