GOGH, Vincent van
(b. 1853, Groot Zundert, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise)

Orchard in Blossom with View of Arles

April 1889, Arles
Oil on canvas, 72 x 92 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich

Catalogue numbers: F 516, JH 1685.

Shortly before van Gogh left Arles he painted this view of the town, seen over the blossoming orchards and gardens and through a screen of tall trees. This image of the town differs from those he produced in the early months of his stay. Neither the agricultural environs of wheatfields nor the industrial landmarks of gas-tanks and railway lines are depicted. Instead we see an old, medieval Arles, surrounded by its cultivated and fertile gardens. The sense of enclosure and fruitfulness, dreaminess even, has parallels in the illustrations of the medieval devotional books of hours, such as the Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry. Van Gogh selected this painting, which he titled Orchards in Bloom (Arles), for exhibition with the Belgian vanguard group Les XX in Brussels in 1890.