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About Vincent van Gogh
in the period:
Saint-Rémy, May 1889 to May 1890

The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital

After recurrent attacks of his illness, Van Gogh decided to admit himself to a mental health clinic in Saint-Rémy, near Arles in April 1889 (Ward in the Hospital in Arles).

The doctor who was treating him eventually gave him permission to carry on with his work. Van Gogh drew and painted the world around him: the corridors, rooms and patients at the clinic, the garden, The Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital, and The Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles, the view from the window, Mountainous Landscape behind Saint-Paul Hospital.

If his health was up to it he was allowed to work outside the clinic grounds. There he produced landscapes with cypress and olive trees, using lively brush strokes (Wheat Fields with Reaper at Sunrise), that suggest movement and energy. The color schemes were generally somewhat softer and less brilliant than the paintings he had done in Arles.

If he was not feeling well enough to work outside, Van Gogh concentrated on other subjects. He studied reproductions by famous masters like Millet, Rembrandt and Delacroix.

He copied these prints whilst adding his own personal style and colors. Between bouts of illness he had very productive periods in which masterpieces like Wheatfield with a Reaper and Irises were created.