The Large Plane Trees (Road Menders at Saint-Rémy)

  • Creator: Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890
  • Year: 1889
  • Location: Saint-Rémy, France

In May 1889, Van Gogh voluntarily committed himself to an asylum near the small town of Saint-Rémy in Provence. His doctors soon gave him permission to paint on day excursions to surrounding fields. While walking through Saint-Rémy that November, he was impressed by the sight of men repairing a road beneath immense plane trees. “In spite of the cold,” he wrote to his brother, “I have gone on working outside till now, and I think it is doing me good and the work too.” Rushing to capture the yellowing leaves, he painted this composition on an unusual cloth with a pattern of small red diamonds visible in the picture’s many unpainted areas.

FUN FACT: Van Gogh sometimes created what he called “repetitions,” in which he painted the same subject and composition again. This painting has a repetition, currently in the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Conservation research has shown that the Cleveland painting is the first version.

share work


Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Sign in to save your own collection of favorite works.