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

Orchard in Blossom (Plum Trees)

April 1888, Arles
Oil on canvas, 55 x 65 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Catalogue numbers: F 553, JH 1387.

This painting belongs to a series of fourteen blossoming orchards that van Gogh painted in spring 1888, shortly after his arrival in Arles. Nine of the series he planned to form three triptychs. The present Blossoming Plum Trees could form the right wing, while the Apricot Trees in Blossom (F 556) in a private collection the right wing of a triptych. The sizes of the two paintings are the same, they depict the same orchard detail and the black factory chimney appears in the background of both.

The idea of altarpieces and religious representations can be associated with the triptych-like arrangement and it is likely that van Gogh himself attributed spiritual meaning to his large-scale, decorative ensembles.

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