Cypresses gained ground in Van Gogh’s work by late June 1889, when he resolved to devote one of his first series in Saint-Rémy to the towering trees. Distinctive for their rich impasto, his exuberant on-the-spot studies include the Met’s close-up vertical view of cypresses (49.30) and this majestic horizontal composition, which he illustrated in reed-pen drawings sent to his brother on July 2. Van Gogh regarded the present work as one of his “best” summer landscapes and was prompted that September to make 2 studio renditions: one on the same scale (National Gallery, London) and the other a smaller replica, intended as a gift for his mother and sister (private collection).
Van Gogh made 4 versions of this composition in Saint-Rémy. The present work, his initial study from nature, was painted in late June or the first days of July 1889. He made a drawing after it, which he sent to his brother on July 2 (F1538; Van Gogh Museum... (http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436535)