Houses in Auvers, 1890 by Vincent Van Gogh
The quiet dirt streets of Auvers were lined with old traditional French cottages, as seen here, with their charming rustic coloured shutters. It was not a wealthy area and the houses were for the most part small, with a number of poorer peasant cottages with thatched roofs. The village was dominated by two larger structures: the church and Dr Gachet's house, and was surrounded by open wheat fields and the Oise valley. In spite of Van Gogh's increasing mental instabilities, he was enthusiastic about Auvers and wrote to Theo, 'It is of grave beauty, the real countryside, characteristic and picturesque,'
He painted the village and cottages numerous times. In most of these paintings, the slightly ramshackle buildings huddle together in a mass of leaning, uneven rooflines and blend into their surroundings so that they become a part of the landscape from which they rise. Here the overall tonality encompasses buildings, sky and greenery, though the colours are lighter and more delicate than many of his works. There is also a finer quality to the drawing with less of the heavy outline that came to characterize his later paintings.