“Auvers is very beautiful”, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in Paris, “among other things a lot of old thatched roofs, which are getting rare… really it is profoundly beautiful, it is the real country, characteristic and picturesque”. In nine weeks, from late May through July 1890, Van Gogh produced some 106 finished works there – 72 paintings, 33 drawings and one etching. They represent the Auvers he saw around him and, more important, the place he imagined it to be: a perfected rural space that is fertile and green …
Van Gogh’s Poppy field dates from this period. Its composition and use of colour are highly reminiscent of those in Claude Monet’s 1881 painting of the same subject (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) but Van Gogh has elevated the horizon, so that the field of flowers occupies a larger proportion of the picture plane.
Source: C. Zemel, Van Gogh’s progress: Utopia, modernity and late-nineteenth-century art, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1997.