Pollard birches, 1884
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Trees were an important source of inspiration for Van Gogh. Gnarled willows, oaks and beeches are the main motif in some twenty of his drawings and paintings. In this work the artist has drawn several rows of pollarded birches in a highly competent pen technique. On either side of the birches he has added a figure, a shepherd with a flock of sheep and a woman with a rake over her shoulder.
In a letter to Theo from 1882 Van Gogh revealed that he saw ‘something like a soul’ in trees. He must have been similarly inspired when he depicted these expressive, rather tragic-looking pollarded birches.