Vincent van Gogh, La Crau from Montmajour, a brown ink drawing over black chalk

Arles, France, AD 1888

In February 1888 Van Gogh (1853-1890) moved to Arles in the South of France. When he had to economise on paint for several weeks he made numerous pen and ink drawings around the hill of Montmajour.

Van Gogh described this drawing at length to his friend and fellow artist Émile Bernard:

'an enormous stretch of flat country, a bird's eye view of it seen from the top of a hill - vineyards and fields of newly reaped wheat. All this multiplied in endless repetition, stretching away towards the horizon like the surface of a sea, bordered by the little hills of the Crau. It does not have a Japanese look, and yet it is the most Japanese thing I have done: a microscopic figure of a labourer, a little train running across the wheat field is all the animation there is in it'.

In another letter to his brother Theo he stated that 'the two views of the Crau... are the best things I have done in pen and ink'. The companion view he mentions is in the van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

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More information


J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

M. McQuillan, Van Gogh (London, 1989)

R. Pickvance, Van Gogh in Arles (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984)


Height: 487.000 mm
Width: 607.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1968-2-10-20


Bequeathed by César Mange de Hauke


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