Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Art Eyewitness Review: Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE-400 CE

Metropolitan Museum of Art 

July 21 - November 13, 2023

Reviewed by Ed Voves

Original Photography by Anne Lloyd

There is often a very thin line dividing an art museum gallery from a place of religious worship. One might almost describe it as an "open border" between the realm of the spirit and the secular world of scholarship and art appreciation.

On a number of occasions, I have felt something akin to a religious experience while visiting an art museum. This has occurred several times at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, notably in the spring of 2014 when I attended the press preview of Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia. I had such a powerful sense of being on "holy ground" that I forgot, for a brief moment or two, that I was at The Met.

When I saw the announcement that John Guy, the Met's internationally-renowned curator of Asian art who organized Lost Kingdoms, was working on a new exhibition, I was thrilled at the news. Perhaps anticipating more than was reasonable to expect, I wondered if I would have a similar epiphany.

At the July 17, 2023 preview of Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE-400 CEI received a "yes and no" answer. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
     Gallery view of Tree & Serpent, showing a Dharmachakra, ca. 200
Yes, Tree & Serpent matches Lost Kingdoms in the number of stunning works of art on view. Many of these have never been presented outside of India and several are recent discoveries from the ongoing effort to uncover India's ancient past.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Drum Panel with Veneration of Relics,        
from the Dupadu Great Stūpa, ca. 1st century

Yes, John Guy and the curatorial team of The Met have created a striking display setting for the exhibition, based on the dome-shaped Buddhist structure known as the stūpaAs noted in the excellent catalog of Tree & Serpent, the majority of "the works of art presented here once formed an integral part of the adornment of this pivotal Buddhist monument that emerged - lotus like - from the earthen funerary mound that was the stūpa's genesis." 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
Gallery view of Tree & Serpent, showing a model of a stūpa built by the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, Cooper Union 

I had to pinch myself a couple of time to recall that this same gallery at The Met, only a few months ago, was the site for the equally astonishing exhibition, Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art. An entirely new realm, the world of Buddhism in its earliest years in southern India, is now on view in Gallery 999 at The Met.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
Prayer service at the press preview of Tree & Serpent
conducted by monks from the New York Buddhist Vihara 

Also of note, The Met sponsored a prayer ceremony at the press preview, led by Buddhist monks from the New York Buddhist Vihara Foundation. These devout monks, who reside in a monastery in Queens, New York City, chanted sutras, the spoken words of the Buddha as recorded in Sri Lankan Buddhist tradition. It was a moving and unforgettable experience.

It was not an an epiphany, however. I did not have a moment of revelation or a deep personal sense of the sacred during my attendance at the press preview of Tree & Serpent. No offense intended to the great folks at The Met, especially the monks of the New York Buddhist Vihara!

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Buddha Offering Protection, 5th century, (left) and
Buddha Granting Boons, 5th-6th century; both from Andhra Pradesh

One of the reasons why I did not experience a soul-stirring encounter with the Divine might have been due to the fact that the serene statues of the Buddha are grouped together in the final display area of Tree & Serpent, as shown above. By the time, I reached this impressive array of statuary, I was dealing with a case of sensory overload.

Images of the contemplative Buddha are what most non-specialist art lovers, like myself, associate with Buddhist art. However, many of the works on view in Tree & Serpent are narrative bas-reliefs, teeming with figures or drama. These were affixed to the pillars, railings and walls of the stūpa shrines, providing visual accounts of the life and teachings of the Buddha, much as stained glass windows in the Gothic Cathedrals of medieval Europe recounted the Gospel stories about Jesus.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Drum Slab with Five Buddha Life Narratives (detail), 3rd century

Other statues on view depict deities only marginally related to the Buddha. These are nature spirits known as yakshas or yakshis or the goddess of abundance, Sri Lakshmi.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
Gallery view of Tree & Serpent, showing a red sandstone statue 
of the Goddess of AbundanceSri Lakshmi, 2nd century  

And then there is one of my favorite works of art in the exhibition, shown below. It may not have promoted a moment of revelation, but Elephants Venerating the Ramagrama Stupa certainly brought a smile to my face.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Pillar Abacus from Amaravati Great Stupa, showing
 Elephants Venerating the Ramagrama Stupa, 1st century

To be fair, museum exhibitions are not intended to create a spiritual state of mind or heart, though sometimes "spirit" does makes its presence felt. Instead, the task of curators is to reach back into time to present new insights about art, frequently with artifacts recently unearthed from archaeological sites, as is the case with Tree & Serpent. These are often unfamiliar to the general public, even unsettling on occasion. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
Gallery view of Tree & Serpent, showing a railing coping fragment with lotus bloom carving from the Barhut Great Stupa, 150-100 BCE

In such instances, it takes a considerable amount of effort to evaluate and  appreciate these ancient, yet newly discovered, works of art.

The past does not always give up its secrets easily. There are certainly a number of exhibition objects in Tree & Serpent which require intensive study to comprehend. Even then, with the guidance of brilliant scholars like John Guy, the meanings or significance of some of these may still be difficult to determine. 

By way of example, let us look at the railing cover or coping from the Great Stūpa at Madhya Pradesh. It was carved from sandstone, dating to 150 to 100 BCE, and shows two men scaling a mountain. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Railing Coping from Bharhut Great Stupa, showing
 Forest Dwellers Scaling or Quarrying a Rock Face (detail), 150-100 BCE

The two men are forest dwellers. They carry wicker baskets on their backs and are grasping pegs which have been inserted into a mountain side. Behind the pair and beneath their feet is a sacred plant, a wish-fulfilling lotus vine. 

Clearly, something of import is happening, but the exact meaning still eludes a definitive solution. Are the men scaling a mountain in search of treasure to bring back to deposit in honor of the Buddha in a stūpa? Or are they quarrying rock to construct a stūpa, durable stone being reserved for building sacred shrines?

This scene almost certainly illustrates a jataka tale, one of a vast corpus of stories and fables related to the Buddha. Many carved bas-relief narratives like this cannot be matched with texts of jataka tales. Other images brilliantly correspond to written jataka texts.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
  Pillar Medallion from Bharhut Great Stupa, showing
 The Mugapakkha-jataka, 150-100 BCE

The Mugapakkha-jataka, depicted in the railing pillar medallion shown above, tells the story of a prince (the Buddha in disguise) who takes a vow of silence, due to his previous life transgressions. The prince's father, fearing disaster, orders the prince to be slain. But the royal chariot driver recognizes the prince as the future Buddha and spares his life. The prince's parents come to realize his divinity too and venerate him. 

This jataka scene, which dates to the same period as the mysterious tableau of the forest dwellers, is a masterpiece of story-telling, concise, coherent and beautifully carved. If it requires a bit of effort to comprehend, this version of the Mugapakkha-jataka is a tremendously appealing work of art and a treasure of spiritual awareness

The religious art of one culture often includes imagery which people of a different faith experience may find difficult to accept. Western people, raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and Buddhists view snakes from very different perspectives. The snake, seen as a treacherous deceiver in the Holy Bible's Book of Genesis, is viewed much more positively in Buddhism.

When we see the multi-headed cobra rearing-up on the carved railing pillar (below), we are witnessing a caring, nurturing deed rather than a dangerous reptile about to strike. The hooded-head of the snake acts like an umbrella shielding the Buddha from a dangerous storm.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Railing Pillar with Naga Mucalinda protecting the Buddha
 (detail), 2nd-1st century, BC 

The protective cobra is known as the Naga Mucalinda. In these scenes, the Buddha often is not physically present, but is represented by a pair of footprints or by an empty throne, as shown above, encircled by the coils of the snake's body.

This Naga Mucalnda scene is one of the most ancient works of Buddhist art on view in Tree and Serpent. The early date is significant. So is the geographic locale of its creation: southern India, in the region known as the Deccan.

What we see on the walls and display cases of the Met's Gallery 999 is nothing less than the visual representation of the birth of Buddhism. In many of the works on view, we glimpse elements of earlier nature-based religious cults, including the worship of snake deities, which were incorporated into Buddhism as it developed in the Deccan, remote from cultural contact with outside civilizations. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
Gallery views of Tree & Serpent. The bottom photo shows Torana architraves, a lion in front, with an elephant behind, 3rd-4th century 

Later, as the exhibition shows, there was significant mercantile contact with the Roman Empire. But Tree & Serpent is essentially an epic exhibit about India. The generous participation of the Indian government and Indian museums in organizing Tree & Serpent deserves the highest praise and appreciation. 

Tree & Serpent is also the story of the birth or rebirth of art in India, since very few works of art survived the long centuries before the rise of Buddhism. As the devout disciples of the Buddha built stūpa shrines across vast stretches of the Deccan, they encircled these sacred buildings with carved depictions of the Buddha's life which have endured the test of time and - some of them - now hang on the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
   Drum Panel with Stupa Veneration and Seminal Buddh-life events        
from the Dupadu Great Stūpa, ca. 1st century

I intend to follow this review with a second essay focusing on the statues of the Buddha in the exhibition's concluding display. But for now, I want to reflect and meditate on all the wonderful treasures of art and spirituality I saw in Tree & Serpent. 

I have the feeling that I may experience an epiphany, after all. 


Text copyright of Ed Voves, all rights reserved.

Images copyright of Anne Lloyd, all rights reserved.

Introductory Image: Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Railing Pillar with Naga Mucalinda Pillar Protecting the Buddhapada (detail), ca. 150-100 BCE. Sandstone: H. 64 15/16 in. (165 cm), W. 12 5/8 in. (32 cm), D. 15 3/4 in. (23 cm) Lent by Allahabad Museum, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of the Tree & Serpent exhibition, with Dharmachakra, ca. 200. copper-alloy:  H. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm.) Diam. 8 in. (20.3 cm). Lent by Bihar Museum, Patna, India

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Drum Panel with Veneration of Relics, ca. 1st century. Limestone: H. 67 5/16 in. (171 cm). W. 40 5/16 in. (104 cm). D. 6 11/16 in. (17 cm). Lent by Amaravati Heritage Center and Museum, Andhra  Pradesh.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of Tree & Serpentshowing a model of a stūpa built by the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, Cooper Union

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Prayer ceremony at the press preview of Tree & Serpent, conducted by the monks from New York Buddhist Vihara Foundation.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Buddha Offering Protection, 5th century, (left) Copper alloy: H. 16 in. (40.6 cm) W. 5 ¼ in. (13.3 cm) d. 4 ½ in. (11.4 cm) Metropolitan Museum collection; and Buddha Granting Boons, 5th-6th century. Copper alloy: H. 12 1/2 in. (41.7 cm) W. 3 15/16 in. (10 cm) d. 3 1/8 in. (8 cm) British Museum collection.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Drum slab with Five Buddha-life Narratives (detail), 3rd century. Limestone: H. 78 3/8 in. (199 cm). W. 39 3/8 in. (100 cm). D. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm). Lent by Archaeological Museum, ASI, Nagarjunakonda, Andra Pradesh.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of Tree and Serpent, showing showing a red sandstone statue of the Goddess of AbundanceSri Lakshmi, 2nd century.  Lent by the National Museum, New Delhi.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Elephants Venerating the Ramagrama Stupalate 1st  century. Limestone: H. 12 13/16 in. (32.5 cm) W. 25 3/4 in. (68 cm) d. 16 9/16 in. (42 cm) British Museum collection.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of Tree and Serpent, showing a railing coping fragment with lotus bloom carving from the Barhut Great Stupa, 150-100 BCE.  

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Railing Coping from Bharhut Great Stupa, showing Forest Dwellers Scaling or Quarrying a Rock Face (detail), 150-100 BCE. Sandstone: H. 13 3/4 in. (35 cm), W. 61 13/16 in. (157 cm), D. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm) Lent by National Museum, New Delhi.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Railing Pillar Medallion with Mugapakkha-jataka, c. 150-100 BCE. Sandstone: H. 24 13/16 in. (63 cm). W. 22 1/16 in. (56 cm). D. 6 5/16 in. (16 cm). Lent by India Museum, Kolkata.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Railing Pillar with Naga Mucalinda, 2nd-1st century, BC. Sandstone: : H. 43 5/16 in. (110 cm). W. 21 5/8 in. (55 cm). D. 19 1/2 in. (53 cm). Lent by National Museum, Delhi.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery views of Tree and Serpent. The bottom photo shows Torana Architraves, a lion in front, with an elephant behind, 3rd-4th century.  Lent by Department of Heritage, Telangana.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Drum Panel with Stupa Veneration and Seminal Buddha-life events, 1st century. Limestone: H. 64 9/16 in. (164 cm). W. 45 ¼ in. (115 cm). D. 6 in. (22 cm). Lent by Amaravati Heritage Center & Museum, Andhra Pradesh.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Art Eyewitness Review: Van Gogh's Cypresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Van Gogh's Cypresses

Metropolitan Museum of Art
thru August 27, 2023

Reviewed by Ed Voves

Original Photography by Anne Lloyd

The ingenuity of museum curators in conceiving and mounting exhibitions is one of the most remarkable aspects of today's art scene. Exhaustive research, savvy display techniques and a sensitive awareness of the relevance of yesterday's art to the concerns of today - these are essential attributes in a curator's toolkit.

Occasionally, though, even the most inventive and perceptive curators can miss the mark. A topic for an important exhibition somehow evades their consideration, leaving this subject "hiding in plain sight." Such was the case of Van Gogh's Cypresses - until recently.

Now in the final days of a hugely popular exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Van Gogh's Cypresses was certainly worth the wait.

Once Van Gogh reached the south of France in the late winter of 1888, cypress trees appear again and again in his paintings. He recorded their presence in sketches and paintings, initially as an "everyday" feature of life, as in his lovely depiction of the Langlois Drawbridge.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Vincent van Gogh's Drawbridge, 1888

Following his emotional breakdown in December 1888, Van Gogh entered the St. Paul Asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, staying there from May 1889 to May 1890. One might have thought that his seclusion in the asylum would have deprived him from viewing the stately cypresses. Instead, from the window of a workroom fitted out for him as a studio, Van Gogh caught sight of the tall, austere, dark green trees and painted them with unforgettable effect.  

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Vincent van Gogh's A Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889

Vincent van Gogh, Illustrated Letter to Theo van Gogh, June 25, 1889

In a June 1889 letter to his brother, Theo, from Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh commented:

"The cypresses still preoccupy me, I’d like to do something with them like the canvases of the sunflowers because it astonishes me that no one has yet done them as I see them. It’s beautiful as regards lines and proportions, like an Egyptian obelisk. And the green has such a distinguished quality."

Van Gogh was as good as his word. He did treat cypresses as he had previously immortalized sunflowers. And he was right to to be astonished that "no one has yet done them as I see them."

Given the intensive study devoted to Van Gogh's oeuvre - with an eye to a hosting special exhibitions - one can only wonder why it has taken so long to place Van Gogh's depictions of cypress trees on the center stage. Yet, let's give credit where it is due. The curators at the Met saw the potential for a Van Gogh blockbuster and seized the opportunity. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Gallery view of Van Gogh's Cypresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Visually, Van Gogh's Cypresses is a delight to behold. Much of the appeal of this exhibition comes from enjoying a spectacular array of Van Gogh's most beloved paintings, side-by-side. Many of these works have not appeared together since Van Gogh dispatched his finished canvases to be stored in the apartment of his brother, Theo, in Paris.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Gallery view of Van Gogh's Cypresses, appearing at right is
 Farmhouse among Olive Trees, 1889

Yet, Van Gogh's Cypresses, is much more than a beautiful exhibition or an interesting side-bar to the major themes of the Dutch painter's art. Van Gogh's "preoccupation" with cypress trees relates directly to his problematic relationship with nature - and with God. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Van Gogh's Still Life with Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves, 1889

Van Gogh was well aware of the growing interest in finding and expressing symbolical meaning in nature. But, despite the influence of Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, Van Gogh held back from joining the Symbolists. He was  apprehensive about heeding "the language of painters." Instead, as he commented to Theo, it is the "language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality is more important than the feeling for pictures."

Cypress trees complicated the issue because, since time immemorial, they had figured as a symbol of death and mourning. In the literature of Greece and Rome, the cypress tree was associated with Hades, god of the Underworld, and the three Fates. 

The Hebrew Bible was more upbeat in regarding the cypress tree, which, along with the myrtle, was regarded as a sign of God's favor. 

"Cypress trees will grow where now there are briers; myrtle trees will come up in place of thorns," proclaimed the prophet Isaiah (55:13). "This will be a sign that will last forever, a reminder of what I, the Lord, have done."

Van Gogh had turned against organized religion by the time he journeyed to Provence. But his early exposure to Bible-based culture continued to resonate in his work. 

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Vincent van Gogh's Orchard Bordered by Cypresses1888

Just as the tall cypress trees loomed over the blossoming orchards in several of his works on view in the Met exhibit, so the cypress served as a "reminder of I, the Lord" in Van Gogh's inner-struggle as he sought meaning in the depiction of nature.

Even as Van Gogh dedicated himself to transcribe "the language of nature", a palpable sense of the numinous, the voice of God, asserted its presence. To a varying degree, this spark of divinity radiates from almost every painting in the Met's exhibition. And no work on view, not even Starry Night, expresses this more powerfully than County Road in Provence by Night.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Vincent van Gogh's County Road in Provence by Night, 1890

Van Gogh painted this tall, roadside cypress as he prepared to leave Saint-Rémy in May 1890. He had wanted to record its image since coming to Provence and it is easy to see why. Its color, stately shape and position next to a well-traveled country lane make for an image pulsating with life.

That's my interpretation of this key painting of the Van Gogh Cypresses exhibit. However, several scholars have taken a completely opposite approach to this work. They maintain that there are numerous signs in Country Road in Provence by Night that Van Gogh, still emotionally brittle despite a year of care and therapy, was passing under the shadow of death.

Van Gogh certainly was experiencing depression when he left Saint-Rémy. But it needs to be emphasized that his mental and spiritual state cannot be definitively deduced from one or another of his paintings. 

If there are premonitions of death in County Road in Provence by Night, then it should be noted that one of Van Gogh's most life-affirming paintings had been created only a few weeks before. This was Almond Blossom, painted for his infant nephew and namesake who was born in January 1890. 

Despite a serious emotional lapse shortly after finishing Almond Blossom, Van Gogh continued to wrestle with his need, "to believe in God, for me is to feel that there is a God, not a dead one, or a stuffed one but a living one, who with irresistible force, urges us toward aimer encore...."

Aimer encore. To love again. Van Gogh wrote those words to Theo in 1881. Nearly a decade later, he was still striving, despite great personal travail, to aimer encore.

In a letter to Theo and his wife, Jo, written less than a month before his death in Jury 1890, Van Gogh affirmed that "I still love art and life very much."

 So, what are we to make of Van Gogh's preoccupation with cypress trees?

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Vincent van Gogh's The Little Stream1889

Ironically, the fact that the cypress tree was ubiquitous in Provence gave the tree a mundane, "everyday" aspect. Other artists might ignore them, concentrating on mountain views and other romantic vistas. Not so for Van Gogh.  

On November 26, 1889, while still undergoing treatment in Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh wrote to Theo, comparing cypresses to the familiar willow tree back home in the Netherlands:  

You know that willows are very picturesque, despite the fact that it appears monotonous, it's the tree typical of the country.  Now what the willow is in our native country, the olive tree and the cypress have exactly the same importance here.

Van Gogh gained these insights into the nature of the cypress, observing these trees "typical" of  the countryside of Provence from the windows of the asylum. He painted a series of views of an enclosed wheat field with a nearby grove of cypresses. This was visible from his bedroom. 

I am familiar with the painting in the series, from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, showing the scene during an autumn 1889 rain shower. The Met's exhibit shows one from the Ny Glyoptek in Denmark. It shows the ears of wheat caressed by the wind with the cypress trees off in the distance.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Van Gogh's Landscape from Saint-Rémy, 1889

It is a fairly lackluster scene in all weather. Likewise, the appearance of the cypress trees -"the tree typical of the country" - is hardly worthy of note.  In fact, this view from Van Gogh's room is distinctly unspectacular, routine, mundane, commonplace...

 But for Van Gogh, struggling to regain his sanity and to express his faith in God and nature, this small patch of the universe, was his sole remaining window onto the world.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023)
 Van Gogh's Trees in the Garden of the Asylum (detail), 1889

The same list of negative descriptors could be applied to the cypress. As we saw earlier, Van Gogh himself described the cypress as monotonous in appearance. Yet there was the cypress at every turn, pushing its roots down into the soil of Provence. Deeply anchored, it could resist the tumultuous Mistrel winds and then find moisture to survive the sun-parched months of summer.

A symbol of resilience in nature, the cypress became the visual testament to Vincent van Gogh's courageous efforts to find redemption as an artist and as a man. Art lovers may prefer Van Gogh's golden sunflowers but it is the images of Van Gogh's Cypresses which come to mind when we reflect on the poignant, almost valedictory words which he wrote to Theo and Jo,  "I still love art and life very much."


Text copyright of Ed Voves, all rights reserved.
Images copyright of Anne Lloyd, all rights reserved.

Introductory image: Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s County Road in Provence by Night (detail), 1890. Artwork details, see below.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh's Drawbridge, 1888. Oil on canvas: 19 ½ x 25 ¼ in. (49.5 x 64 cm) Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh's A Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889. Oil on canvas: 28 3/8 x 35 7/8 in. (72.1 x 90.9 cm) National Gallery, London.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) Illustrated Letter to Theo van Gogh, June 25, 1889. Pen and ink on paper: 8 ¼ x 10 5/8 in. (21 x 27 cm) Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of Van Gogh's Cypresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Gallery view of Van Gogh's Cypresses, appearing at right is Vincent van Gogh’s Farmhouse among Olive Trees, 1889. Oil on canvas: 27 5/8 x 23 5/8 in. (70 x 60 cm) Private Collection, Larry Ellison.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s Still Life with Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves, 1889. Oil on canvas: 18 7/8 x 24 ½ in. (48 x 62 cm) National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s Orchard Bordered by Cypresses, 1888. Oil on canvas: 25 5/8 x 32 in. (64.9 x 81.2 cm) Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s County Road in Provence by Night, 1890. Oil on canvas: 35 3/8 x 28 3/8 in. (90.6 x 72 cm) Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s The Little Stream, 1889. Oil on canvas: 10 x 13 ¼ in. (25.4 x 33.7 cm) Starr Insurance Companies.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh’s Landscape from Saint-Rémy, 1889. Oil on canvas: 27 ¾ x 34 7/8 in. (70.5 x 88.5 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Anne Lloyd, (Photo 2023) Vincent van Gogh's Trees in the Garden of the Asylum (detail), 1889. Oil on canvas: 26 3/8 x 20 ¼ in. (67 x 51.4 cm) Private collection.