In the spring of 1888, Vincent van Gogh wrote: 'I'm in a fury of work as the trees are in blossom and I wanted to do a Provence orchard of tremendous gaiety.' (See letter to Theo van Gogh, 3 April 1888).
When Van Gogh arrived in Arles in February 1888, winter still held the village in its grip. After a few weeks, spring came. Full of enthusiasm, he began a series of studies of trees in blossom. When he saw the paintings side by side, he had the idea of combining them into triptychs. In a triptych, three works are combined into one harmonious whole. Van Gogh was familiar with this idea from Japanese prints.
Van Gogh went on to produce no fewer than fourteen paintings of fruit trees in blossom in the space of a month. He hoped his orchard paintings would sell. To his brother Theo he wrote, 'You know these subjects are among the ones that cheer everyone up.'