The first book to study Vincent van Gogh’s fascination with cypresses, the “tall and dark trees” that feature in some of his most iconic pictures
Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) immortalized the cypress tree in signature images that have become synonymous with his fiercely original power of expression. This richly illustrated publication illuminates the backstory of his invention for the first time, from his initial investigations of the motif in benchmark drawings from Arles to his realization of their full evocative potential in such iconic canvases as The Starry Night and Wheat Field with Cypresses, painted at the asylum in Saint-Rémy. Susan Alyson Stein retraces the Dutch artist’s inspired response to the flamelike evergreens as they gained ground in his works and artistic thinking over the course of his sojourn in the South of France. The volume provides further insight into Van Gogh’s creative process through a technical study focused on two celebrated works from the artist’s epic painting campaign of June 1889. The visual and literary heritage of the cypresses is featured in a compilation of images and excerpts from nineteenth-century poetry, novels, and travel writing—many translated into English for the first time.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (May 22–August 27, 2023)
Susan Alyson Stein is Engelhard Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Painting in the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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