Oleanders

Artist: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)

Date: 1888

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 3/4 x 29 in. (60.3 x 73.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Loeb, 1962

Accession Number: 62.24

Description

For Van Gogh, oleanders were joyous, life-affirming flowers that bloomed "inexhaustibly" and were always "putting out strong new shoots." In this painting of August 1888 the flowers fill a majolica jug that the artist used for other still lifes made in Arles. They are symbolically juxtaposed with Émile Zola's La joie de vivre, a novel that Van Gogh had placed in contrast to an open Bible in a Nuenen still life of 1885.

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