Van Gogh’s Harvest

This time of year, we celebrate the harvest and reap the benefits of the year’s hard work.  Van Gogh frequently wrote about harvest time in his letters, and he often compared the harvest season to his own work and how he would someday get back all that he put into it.  In a letter to his brother Theo from September 9, 1882 he wrote:

“I wish you could walk here some evening in this splendid autumn wood. What I bring back from it this year will be just a scanty harvest. However, I hope to bring a few things, and in time it will grow more and more.”

Van Gogh also appreciated the beauty of harvest time and became wrapped up in nature and absorbing the changes taking place around him.  On September 19 of 1882, he wrote the following to his brother Theo,

“Sometimes I long for harvest time, that is, for the time when I shall be so imbued with the study of nature that I myself can create something in a picture.”

By the spring of 1883, Van Gogh was referring to his studies as the seeds from which he would grow great works.  He used this metaphor in a letter to his brother Theo when stating,

“Well, the main thing for me to do now is to see to it that the quality of the seed (namely the drawings themselves) improves; it may take more time, but if the harvest is better for it, I am satisfied – I always have my eye on that harvest.”

Van Gogh did master drawing and, it was this skill that in turn helped him to produce great paintings as well such as the ones below which he harvested only a few years later.

Harvest in Provence Wheat Field with Reaper and Sun
Wheat Field Behind Saint Paul Hospital with a Reaper Harvest at La Cra, with Montmajour in the Background

Letters Source:

http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/11/229.htm
http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/11/233.htm
http://www.webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/12/277.htm

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