Arts Everyday Living: Van Gogh’s Birthday Gift—The Flowering Orchards

Reposted blog.


This blog is the second installment of Vincent van Gogh’s celebration of spring in Arles in the South of France.  A virtual exhibition that will enhance and enrich your life during this period of social isolation.






Between late March and early May of 1888, Vincent van Gogh created some 15 paintings (with 8 in existence today) of apricot, peach, pear, plum, and other types of orchards just outside Arles in the South of France.  In letters to his brother Theo, sister Wilhelmina, and artist Emile Bernard, Vincent provides us with a record of his progress.

So enjoy your walk with Vincent into spring, through a gallery of his visions and his words.


I have just finished a group of apricot trees in bloom in a little orchard of fresh green.

To Theo, March 25


I have been working on a size 20 canvas in the open air with an orchard, lilac ploughland, a reed fence, 2 peach trees against a sky of glorious blue and white.  Probably the best landscape I have done.

I had just brought it home when I received from our sister a Dutch notice in memory of my teacher Mauve, with his portrait…Something—I don’t know what—took hold of me and brought a lump to my throat, and i wrote on my picture, Souvenir de Mauve.

To Theo, March 30

Now, for instance, I am working on 6 pictures of fruit trees in bloom.

To sister Wilhelmina, March 30

I’m in a fever of work since the trees are in blossom.

To Theo, April 2


The little pear tree has a violet trunk and white flowers, with a very yellow butterfly on one of the clusters.  To the left in the corner, a little garden with a fence of yellow reeds, and green bushes, a flower bed, and little pink house.

To Theo, April 13


I have 10 orchards now, not counting 3 small studies and a large one of a cherry tree that I worked to death…..When will you be back, and what to do about the definitive consignment?  Because I now have to change subjects, the orchards have mainly lost their blossoms…..

To Theo, April 20

There’s a small landscape with a tumble down house in white, red, green and a cypress beside it—you have the drawing of it and I painted it entirely at home…

To Theo, May 7


Research sources are: The Complete Van Gogh by Jan Hulsker; website Van Gogh Letters; and website Van Gogh Letters, Webexhibits.

The dates are approximate on many letters.  Also art historians and scholars continue to debate the order of creation of some of Van Gogh’s orchards.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Orchard with Blossoming Apricot Trees, 1888. oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Vincent van Gogh, Pink Peach Trees, 1888, oil on canvas, Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

Vincent van Gogh, Orchards in Bloom (Plum Trees), 1888, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland

Vincent van Gogh, Blossoming Pear Tree, 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Vincent van Gogh, Blossoming Orchard, 1888, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Vincent van Gogh, Landscape with Path and Pollard Trees, 1888, oil on canvas, Location Unknown.

The above images are used solely for educational purposes.


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