About the Acquisition
Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890) is a marvelous complement to the Gallery’s Van Gogh collection. The ninth oil painting by the artist to come to the Gallery, this work, along with Girl in White, represents Van Gogh’s wildly prolific Auvers period. It hangs in the Gallery’s West Building with several works from Provence, including La Mousmé and Farmhouse in Provence, as well as some pieces painted during his stay at Saint-Rémy, such as Roses and his glowering Self-Portrait. This powerful landscape relates perhaps even more strongly to three of the Gallery’s pen and ink drawings by Van Gogh, all from 1888—Harvest, Harvest–The Plain of La Crau, and Ploughman in the Fields near Arles—in the rhythmic weave of the marks made to describe his sense of nature’s unifying energy.
Green Wheat Fields, Auvers spent its early life in Germany, represented around 1905 by the brilliant modern art dealer Paul Cassirer and moving to Britain with F. H. Herrmann in 1936–1937. Herrmann sold it through the Carstairs Gallery in New York to Paul Mellon in December 1955. It has remained in Mr. and Mrs. Mellon’s home in Virginia until now, with the exception of an exhibition devoted to their collection and that of Paul’s sister, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, at the National Gallery of Art in 1966. Mrs. Paul Mellon donated the painting to the Gallery in 2013.
This poster is a reproduction of Vincent van Gogh's Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890).
Green Wheat Fields, Auvers was painted during Van Gogh’s final months in Auvers-sur-Oise, a village just north of Paris. This work is a “pure landscape” in that there is no visible motif beyond the grassy field, road, and sky; there are no animals or figures, but instead lush flora whipped up by the wind. Two-thirds of the composition consists of the field in a rich range of greens and blues, punctuated by outbursts of yellow flowers. The artist wrote of his return to northern France as a kind of homecoming, a peaceful restoration in which the vibrant, hot colors of the south were replaced by cool, gentle hues of green and blue. Van Gogh’s energetic strokes describe the movement of grassy stalks in the breeze, their patterned undulations creating a woven form anchored at the right by a juncture of field, road, and sky. There the turbulent vibrations are held in place, just barely. Above the fields the clouds whip around in spinning circles, created by Van Gogh’s brush squiggling across the surface in broad calligraphic strokes. The paint is applied in thick impasto, creating the textured surface common to all Van Gogh’s best-loved paintings. Through his dynamic touch and vivid, rich color, Van Gogh expresses the intense freshness of this slice of countryside.
- 23.75 x 29.5 inches (image), 26 x 29.5 inches (poster)