Les Cyprès (1889)

Van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)

Les Cyprès (Cypresses)
Brown ink and graphite on paper, 61.9 x 47.3 cm
Brooklyn MuseumNew York

This drawing dates from Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 stay at a psychiatric asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, during a period when he became fascinated with the dark, obelisk-like forms of cypress trees. He sent it to his brother Theo in July of that year as a way to “show” him what the paintings he was working on looked like. The canvas that corresponds to this drawing is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not only is Brooklyn’s work on paper a “reproduction” in the sense that it was made to represent a painting, but it also draws from the visual vocabulary of the inexpensive contemporary prints that van Gogh adored, using an abbreviated language of dots and dashes to communicate tonal effects. He executed this and other drawings of this period with an improvised pen made from a sharpened stalk of a local reed—a technique that forced him to work quickly and assertively. (BkM)


Van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)
Wheat Field with Cypresses
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York