Vincent van Gogh painted Willows at Sunset in 1888. The vivid tones of van Gogh's palette announce the change of season from summer to autumn.
After months of passionate and unrelenting work in solitary circumstances, van Gogh was physically drained and deeply lonely. He felt a parallel in the ebbing vitality of the cycle of the seasons. The bare branches of the willows appear animated, as if they twist to reach out into the last rays of vigorous heat cast by the setting sun.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American painting, including Publications International, Ltd.'s, Monet and Impressionism. Other titles include Sunflowers, Monet's Garden in Art, Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers, and Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives. Ms. Mancoff is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.