Flowering Orchards is a series of paintings which Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh executed in Arles, in southern France in the spring of 1888. Van Gogh arrived in Arles in February 1888 in a snowstorm; within two weeks the weather changed and the fruit trees were in blossom. Appreciating the symbolism of rebirth, Van Gogh worked with optimism and zeal on about fourteen paintings of flowering trees in the early spring. He also made paintings of flowering trees in Saint-Rémy the following year, in 1889.
Flowering trees were special to Van Gogh; they represented awakening and hope. He enjoyed them aesthetically and found joy in painting flowering trees. The 'trees and orchards in bloom' paintings that he made reflect Impressionist, Divisionist and Japanese woodcut influences.
Orchard in Blossom (F511)
The Van Gogh Museum's version of Orchard in Blossom was painted in April. Vincent asked Theo to "shave off" some of the impasto in this painting. Apparently he did not reline, a process of heavy pressure and heat to flatten the surface, because sharp edges of thick impasto remain on the painting.
Around the southern French city of Arles, there were many fruit orchards. Soon after Van Gogh arrived there in 1888, the spring came. He enthusiastically painted a variety of flowering fruit trees: apricot, almond, apple, peach and in this case plum.
But Van Gogh was not satisfied. He took this canvas with him to Saint-Rémy (FR) and kept working on it from memory. 'I have found a way better to express the harmony of the tones'...