Wheatfield with Crows, 1890

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

  • Oil on Canvas, 50.5 X 103 cm
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
  • F 779

Wheatfield with Crows is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings and probably the one most subject to speculation. It was executed in July 1890, in the last weeks of Van Gogh’s life. Many have claimed it was his last work, seeing the dramatic, cloudy sky filled with crows and the cut-off path as obvious portents of his coming end. However, since no letters are known from the period immediately preceding his death, we can only guess what his final work might really have been.

More information about "Wheatfield with Crows"

Symbolic Wheatfields

In Auvers, Van Gogh painted a large number of landscapes with wheatfields, all on unusual, elongated canvases (50 x 100 cm). He wrote to Theo about two of these works: “They depict vast, distended wheatfields under angry skies, and I deliberately tried to express sadness and extreme loneliness in them.” But these pictures also had a positive side: “I am almost certain that these canvases illustrate what I cannot express in words, that is, how healthy and reassuring I find the countryside.” Was this also true of the Wheatfield with Crows? Unfortunately, this will probably always remain a mystery.

The End

Van Gogh was quite depressed during the last weeks of his life. He worried about his brother’s financial situation and his own future. He was continually afraid of suffering another bout of his illness and, despite some recognition, felt he had failed as an artist.

On 27 July Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He died two days later, with Theo at his side. A number of his artist-friends attended the funeral; others wrote letters of condolence to Theo, which are preserved in the Van Gogh Museum. Theo himself died a half a year later, on January 25, 1891. His grave is now located next to his brother’s, in Auvers-sur-Oise.

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