Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun Vincent van Gogh Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Vincent Van Gogh painted the Olive Trees With Yellow Sky And Sun when residing in Saint Paul de Mausole asylum in Saint Remy de Provence in France.

Having recovered recently from an ailment, he felt poised to go and enjoy the outside view. On that November of 1889, he set his canvas and easel, just outside the walls of the asylum. A beautiful view of olive trees lay ahead as if begging him to paint.

His idea was to paint an abstract painting of that grove of olive trees, one that could act as a promising foundation for next year. He did five versions, all having different colours combinations, angles and shapes. The first was the Olive Grove Pink Sky, while the second was the Olive Grove with Pale Blue Sky. The other two, Olive Pickers-Orange Sky and Olive Grove-Orange Sky, portrayed certain similarities to this particular painting.

The Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun painting depicts a hot and bright afternoon. It has a yellow sky and sun at the top portion of the canvas. Below the sky, are the lavender and violet Alpilles Mountains, hidden between green shaded olive trees. At the bottom, lies an ochre and orange ground, with a lavender shadow just below each tree. The shadows of the trees seem misaligned from the sun.

Vincent’s inspiration for painting the olive trees came from Gauguin's and Bernard’s painting of Christ in the Olive Garden. He thought their works of nature conveyed no real message and were merely an act of dreaming instead of thinking. His rebellion to the painting of Christ in the Olive Garden made him want to portray the olive trees in a new light.

In his stay at the asylum, he had realized that olive trees were held in high regard in Saint Remy, just like the willows in his native country, which is why he chose to work with them.

In that cold November of 1889, Vincent wrote letters to his friend, Emile Bernard, and his siblings, Theo Van Gogh and Willemien Van Gogh and told to them about his five versions of the grove of Olive Trees. Vincent Van Gogh stayed in Saint Remy for four and half months then moved to Auvers where he passed away after three months. The Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun painting is a masterpiece and a depiction of Van Gogh's legacy.