Vincent van Gogh painted A Lane near Arles in May 1888, just before the start of summer. At the time he was living in this picturesque little town in the former province of Provence in the South of France. The painting depicts a tree-lined lane running between the beautiful fields outside the town.
Since Van Gogh died in July 1890, A Lane near Arles was one of his last paintings. At the time of writing (October 2020)this artwork had found its way to Greifswald in Germany, where it now forms part of the collection of the Pommersches Landesmuseum.
Content and theme
A lane near Arles is a 61 cm by 50 cm oil on canvas painting. It shows a house that stands at the side of a country lane. Here Van Gogh uses colour in a very similar fashion to some of his other paintings from the same period. The colours are alive and bright, and literally light up the canvas, in the process delivering a view that is not so much experienced than it is perceived. In this way, he uses colour to convey the idyllic nature of the moment.
One of the biggest pleasures Van Gogh's paintings give art lovers is the manner in which he would play around with different painting styles in the various parts of the composition, while at the same time keeping their overall harmony intact.
In A Lane near Arles, one has a path defined by wide strokes of lavender and yellow foliage. The zig-zag patterns of fluffy white clouds in the otherwise blue sky hint that a Provençal breeze might be blowing.
The painting also contains blocks of pure colour: the house is bright yellow, the fields are green, and the tree trunks are blue! Somehow Van Gogh manages to make all of this work together perfectly.
Other Van Gogh paintings from the same period
One can say the same about other Van Gogh landscapes painted during the same period. In Farmhouse in Provence, for example, the sky is turquoise and there is a delightful lilac wall. It's not difficult to imagine the artist viewing these landscapes and intuitively processing the beauty in front of him - sky, path, trees - so perfectly that the best way of conveying them on a canvas follows nearly instinctively.
In the same year, while he was living in Arles, Van Gogh also painted The Yellow House. The house in this painting was part of a property at 2 Place Lamartine in the town where he rented four rooms from the beginning of May 1888.