Oleanders by Vincent van Gogh

Oleanders, 1888

Vincent van Gogh

For Van Gogh, oleanders were joyous, life-affirming flowers that bloomed “inexhaustibly” and were always “putting out strong new shoots.” In this painting, the flowers fill an Italian earthenware jug, rising and spreading across the picture like the blossoming trees of his spring landscapes. The bouquet is infused with energy and life: the heavy, fragrant flowers are rendered in circling strokes and thick parallel daubs of paint, in contrast to the spiky, black-outlined leaves. The punchy yellow-green background is the perfect color to complement the bright peach and orange blooms.

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art