Van gogh olive trees

Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background by Vincent Van Gogh

(June, 1889)

From the olive groves at the Mas de la Dame is a view of the fortress castle of Les Baux de Provence. Van Gogh may have painted his olive trees series at the Mas de la Dame.

Located a few kilometres away from the Mas de la Dame is the Monastery of St. Paul de Mausole built in the 12th century at St Rémy de Provence, next to the ancient Gallo-Roman town of Glanum, discovered in 1921. An asylum was part of the Monastery where Van Gogh stayed from May 1889 to May 1890.

There is a plaque at the entrance of the driveway leading to the Monastery, stating that Van Gogh’s olive trees were painted in the area. The perspective with the fortress of Les Baux de Provence in the background could only have been painted at the location of Mas de la Dame, and Van Gogh may have painted some olive trees from here, the ones without the fortress ruins.

A descendant of Auguste Faye recounted to me that Van Gogh sometimes paid for his meals or lodgings at farmhouses with his canvases. Perhaps somewhere in someone’s attic, or hanging on some farmer’s wall, or even used to wrap some market purchases, or cover a broken windowpane, is a canvas by Van Gogh. Farmers, you know, are practical people and not particularly leaning to the arts.

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