I work even in the middle of the day, in the full sunshine,
without any shadow at all, in the wheatfields,
and I enjoy it like a cicada.
-- Letter to Emile Bernard, c. 18 June 1888
Early in 1888, Van Gogh left Paris for the small town of Arles, in Provence. Fascinated by the intense light of the South, he tried to match it on canvas with the brilliance of his colors. This renewed contact with nature gave Van Gogh a burst of energy, visible in his dynamic brushwork and generous application of paint, as well as in the audacity with which he tackled a new type of broad, panoramic composition in paintings such as Field with Flowers near Arles and The Harvest.
The year he spent in Arles was Van Gogh's most productive period. Among his favorite subjects were blossoming trees and wheatfields, appropriate symbols of renewal and fertility.
List of all objects in this room
Copyright © 2008 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC