About this artwork

Van Gogh immersed himself in painting the colourful orchards around Arles in the south of France, where he settled in February 1888. The structure of the branches of the plum trees is still clearly visible through the blossom and his brushstrokes follow the direction of the vertical tree trunks. He painted a series of pictures of orchards during his prolific bouts of activity in Arles. His initial optimism, expressed in letters to his brother Theo, encouraged Gauguin to join him there. They soon quarrelled, however, being temperamentally incompatible, and the following year Van Gogh's mental illness prompted his admission to the asylum at Saint-Remy.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's brilliant, emotionally charged paintings are the most well known of all Post-Impressionist works. Born in Holland, the son of a pastor, he tried picture dealing, teaching and book selling, before training for the ministry. After dismissal from a mission in Belgium he concentrated on painting. His arrival in Paris in 1886 and his contact with the Impressionist painters made a dramatic impact on his work. Van Gogh's concern with light and colour led him to the south of France, where his paintings began to reflect his increasingly disturbed state of mind. He died after shooting himself in July 1890.