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Tree trunks in the grass

Vincent van Goghlate April 1890

The Kröller-Müller Museum

The Kröller-Müller Museum
Otterlo, Netherlands

Close-up
During his Paris period, Van Gogh already painted a forest in an unusual and original way: not the tall trees and the foliage, but the ground, the base of the trunks and the low vegetation, such as ivy, grass and small plants. During his stay at the asylum in Saint-Rémy he again makes this type of ‘close-up’ of a piece of grassland with flowers and the trunks of two pine trees.

Powerful spatial effect
He paints with thick and thin lines, solid contours and small circles for the many flowers. The rough bark of the pine trees is rendered almost abstractly, while the grass field with white flowers and the yellow dandelions displays a certain sophistication. By emphasizing the foreground – the trees and the grass – and using a strong diagonal, a powerful spatial effect is created.

Untangled
He writes to his friend Emile Bernard: ‘I exaggerate, I sometimes make changes to the subject, but still I don’t invent the whole of the painting; on the contrary, I find it ready-made – but to be untangled – in the real world’.

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