Sick or creative?
In 1889, after Vincent spent almost a year in a mental hospital, “Cypresses” was born, and more than one. The painting from the Wheat Fields series was made in three versions. Van Gogh was inspired by the view of the Alpine foothills, which opened from the hospital window. He painted a field of ripe wheat, with a cypress towering over it, and olive groves against the background of clouds swirling around the foothills.
Van Gogh began to introduce cypresses in almost every painting he made depicting southern nature, constantly saying that they were “the most characteristic feature of the Provencal landscape.” He later considered “Wheat Field with “Cypress” one of his best summer paintings. However, researchers of the painter’s work explain this passion by the fact that these Mediterranean trees have long been known as a sign of grief and death, which reflected artist’s mental state.
From hand to hand
Vincent sent the July and September versions of “Wheat Field” to his brother in Paris, and the third — as a gift to his sister and mother. Theo’s widow sold the painting in 1900. After passing through the hands of a collector, banker and arms manufacturer, the painting was sold in 1993, with the financial support of businessman Walter Annenberg for 57 million dollars. The September version is now housed in the National Gallery in London. The small version is in a private collection.
“… the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it”
Vincent van Gogh