The Met Takes a Deep Dive Into van Gogh’s Cypress Trees

Vincent van Gogh may be best known for the swirling skies of his “Starry Night.” But he also filled his paintings with cypress trees.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will focus on those towering trees — several of which he painted during his stay in a mental hospital in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France — in an exhibition from May 22 through Aug. 27, 2023, the museum announced on Tuesday.

“It has always been thought that he discovered the cypresses after his stay at the asylum, that this is what fueled his imagination and that he had more or less ignored the most eye-catching motif in Provence before he got there,” said Susan Alyson Stein, the Met’s curator of 19th-century European painting, who is organizing the exhibition. “That isn’t the case. The show is not only the first to focus on the motif but it’s also giving an unprecedented look at the back story behind these paintings that have long captivated our attention.”

The famed “Starry Night,” which hasn’t traveled from the Museum of Modern Art in 13 years, and the Met’s exuberant “Wheat Field With Cypresses” will be reunited for the first time since 1901. They are among the approximately 40 works in the exhibition that the artist made over two years in the South of France. Drawings and letters will also be included.

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