Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy, painted in Saint-Rémy, Autumn 1889. Sold for £10,121,250 on 7 Feb. 2012 at Christie’s in London.
For the first month of his stay at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, Van Gogh was kept under close observation, restricted to the inner grounds. ‘Through the iron-barred window I can make out a square of wheat in an enclosure,’ he wrote to his brother, ‘above which in the morning I see the sun rise in its glory.’
While the other patients typically spent their days in idleness, Van Gogh began working the day after his arrival.
‘I’ve been here almost a whole month, not one single time have I had the slightest desire to be elsewhere; just the will to work is becoming a tiny bit firmer,’ he wrote to Theo on 31 May 1889. ‘What a beautiful land and what beautiful blue and what a sun! And yet I’ve only seen the garden and what I can make out through the window...