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In the final years of his troubled life, Vincent van Gogh created Post-Impressionist paintings that would establish his legacy as one of the most influential artists of all time. And during this time, he became intrigued by the cypress. While these coniferous trees would be a focal point in some of Van Gogh's most resonant oil work (see: The Starry Night), there has never been an exhibit that analyzed his special affection for them — until now.
Van Gogh Cypresses, which runs from May 22 to August 27 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, unspools the story of the Dutch artist's fixation with the long-lived tree that he called "tall and somber." The exhibition recontextualizes more than 40 of his oil paintings, drawings, and illustrated letters — some of which are rarely lent — providing new insight into his tortured genius.
The Met is home to two of these masterpieces: Cypresses (the first Van Gogh painting that the Met acquired nearly 85 years ago) and Wheat Field with Cypresses (which was donated by Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg in 1993, see above). Photo credit: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
Wheat Field with Cypresses, June 1889
Oil on canvas 28 7/8 x 36 3/4 in. (73.2 x 93.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, The Annenberg Foundation Gift, 1993 (1993.132)
Homepage photo credit: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890)
The Starry Night, June 1889
Oil on canvas 29 x 36 1/4 in. (73.7 x 92.1 cm)
Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie
P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange), 1941; Conservation was made
possible by the Bank of America Art Conservation Project Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY