The painting "Olive Trees" by Vincent Van Gogh was created in 1889 when Van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint-Remy to treat his mental illness. At the time, Van Gogh was deeply inspired by his time spent in nature, and this painting was particularly inspired by a view near the asylum of nearby olive trees and a field of wheat, as he wrote to his brother in a letter of September 1889.
Van Gogh created the painting using both brush strokes and his signature technique of impasto, where the colors are applied in thick layers to create texture and depth. The painting was created in a single session, with Van Gogh expressing a sense of urgency and passion while working, his brush never leaving the canvas and the colors wet in order to create the desired effect.
The final canvas portrayed an idyllic landscape, closely reminiscent of Van Gogh’s beloved southern French countryside. The painting reveals Van Gogh’s statement of admiration and respect for nature, as the powerful and majestic olive trees are surrounded by a golden wheat field and beneath a vibrant blue sky.
Due to its popularity, "Olive Trees" was later selected as the cover illustration for one of Van Gogh's letters to his brother and has been part of many exhibitions and retrospectives over the last 130 years. The painting is now part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, USA.