Field with Stacks of Wheat, 1890 by Van Gogh

Van Gogh followed the progress of the harvest while he was in Auvers, just as he had done the year before in Saint-Remy. A number of paintings resulted from his observations, including Field with Stacks of Wheat.

In the middle of the canvas we see a large, untidy stack of wheat, with a slighdy smaller one in front and several sheaves of wheat to the side. Behind these is a mound of wheat in the shape of a house, presumably consisting of neatly stacked sheaves. The highly varied brushstrokes and fairly monochrome character of the painting make it somewhat difficult to read.

Despite the fact that Van Gogh did make drawings of peasants bringing in the harvest during this period, such figures are entirely absent from the ambitious paintings he made with rural themes. He apparently felt that the panoramic landscape with the visible results of the toil spoke for itself, without particularly needing the addition of any human figures. The landscape will endure, he wrote in Saint-Remy, 'this has already been borne out to some extent, for Corot, Daubigny, Dupre, Millet and Henri Rousseau, as landscape painters, these remain with us'.