Arts Everyday Living: A Walk in the Garden with Vincent–An Evening in Autumn, Sunset Sky

Vincent van Gogh, Garden of the Asylum, 1889, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation, gift of Paul Gachet, Jr.)


Title: Garden in the Asylum, 1889

Artist: Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890

When Vincent van Gogh created  Garden in the Asylum in November, 1889  as shown above, he had been residing in a mental asylum located just outside of Saint-Remy-de-Provence, a town in southern France.  Vincent had committed himself voluntarily the previous May, after suffering a series of seizures in nearby Arles (see: April 28 and April 30 blogs). Fortunately, the artist was allowed to continue painting, producing some 150 paintings, including Starry Night, during the year he was institutionalized.

Vicent spent many hours in the asylum’s garden and soon after his admission, he had already completed the internationally famed Irises, the artist’s poem to spring. However, here is Vincent’s response to autumn, expressing the season’s drama and poignancy. In a group of twisting trees likely blown by an increasingly cold wind, foreshadowing the advent of winter. Set against the last stages of a multi-colored sunset, slowly fading in the distance.

Only a few men have ventured outside, perhaps patients taking an evening walk? While a bench in the foreground stands empty, possibly awaiting the arrival of a familiar occupant, namely Vincent van Gogh.





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