Vincent van Gogh voluntarily entered the clinic of Saint-Paul-de-Mausolée in southern France on May 8, 1889. The sanatorium sits just over the mountains from Arles, where Vincent had spent the previous winter producing some of his more energetic and moving canvases. It was also where he had suffered his most severe mental breakdowns, which eventually prompted his hospitalization. From his workroom at the clinic Van Gogh looked down on an enclosed field of wheat. During his eleven-month stay he drew or painted this view some twelve times. This picture of the wheat field during a rainstorm is the only work of its kind he did in the South, and while the idea of representing rainfall by diagonal slashes of paint clearly relates to Van Gogh's interest in Japanese prints, the final effect is completely personal and well beyond any borrowed source. There is truly nothing quite like it in his considerable output--truly nothing so gently and objectively observed, nothing so completely revealing his own state of mind. Joseph J. Rishel, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 203
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