Between June and December 1889, during his stay at the asylum in Saint-Remy, Van Gogh made about fifteen paintings of olive orchards. He began to paint the trees that were steps away from the asylum in June and July.
The studies of Olive groves helped Vincent to work on his color skills and become a Master colorist. The silver color of the leaves and the shape of the tree trunks were a challenge for him.
Vincent wrote to Theo about Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background that the white cloud and a background of mountains were an exaggeration:
“From the point of view of the arrangement, the lines are warped, as in old wood. (…) I tried to express the time of day when you see the green rose beetles and the cicadas flying about in the heat”
In other paintings, Van Gogh often manipulated the facts, but in this painting, he was faithful to the actual topography, including Les Deux Troux in the distance on the left and the Mont Gaussier peak on the right.
Current location: Museum of Modern Art, New-York