In March 1882 van Gogh received a commission to produce a series of cityscapes of The Hague of twelve sheets, which was followed in the next month by another commission for another series, this
time of six sheets but more elaborated. Nursery on Schenkweg, depicting the gardener Pierre Levin van der Putte's tree nursery, belongs to this second group. This series are primarily
exercises in perspective and proportion.
Largely self-taught, van Gogh started his career copying prints and reading nineteenth-century drawing manuals and books. His technique grew out of the idea that to be a great painter you had to master drawing first. Van Gogh felt it was necessary to master black and white before working with color, and so he focused on learning the essentials of figure drawing and depicting landscapes in correct perspective.