Oil on canvas, 93,4 x 74 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1949
"Cypresses" was painted in late June 1889, shortly after Van Gogh began his yearlong voluntary stay as a patient in the asylum in Saint-Rémy. The subject, which he found "as beautiful of line and proportion as an Egyptian obelisk," both captivated and challenged the artist: "It is a splash of black in a sunny landscape, but it is one of the most interesting black notes, and the most difficult to hit off exactly that I can imagine." Van Gogh's initial fascination with cypresses resulted in three paintings: two showing the "big and massive trees" at close range, in vertical format (this and one in the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo), and a majestic horizontal view, "Wheat Field with Cypresses" (on view in the adjacent gallery), which he later repeated in two variants.