Wheatfield under Thunderclouds was finished In the last weeks of Van Gogh's life. After his crisis of March-April, 1890, Van Gogh felt the increasing need to flee the debilitating atmosphere
of the asylum. "I need air," he said. "I feel at the abyss of boredom and sorrow.". Van Gogh's great compositional authority enabled him to offer this audacious view of a space entirely executed in
hatchwork, relegating details of the landscape ordinarily thought dominant to the edges of the composition, the whole expressing the confused and organic business of nature. Oriental influence is
evident here. "The Japanese draw very quickly, like a flash of lightning," he wrote in June, 1888. "This is because their nerves are finer, their feeling simpler."
In these landscapes he tried to express 'sadness, extreme loneliness'. But the overwhelming emotions that Van Gogh experienced in nature were also positive. He wrote to his brother Theo, 'I'd almost believe that these canvases will tell you what I can't say in words, what I consider healthy and fortifying about the countryside.'
Van Gogh painted thirteen large canvases of horizontal landscapes of the wheat harvest that occurs in the region from the middle to late July. The series began with Wheatfield Under Thunderclouds then Wheatfield with Crows was painted when the crop was on the verge of harvest.