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The Mulberry Tree

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Oil on canvas
54.0 x 65.0 cm.
Saint-Rémy: October, 1889
F 637, JH 1796

Pasadena, California: The Norton Simon Museum of Art


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Vincent van Gogh painted The Mulberry Tree while in voluntary confinement at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy, France. Although Van Gogh suffered ongoing attacks (likely caused, at least in part, by epilepsy), he nevertheless produced some of his most powerful works during periods of lucidity. The Mulberry Tree is a magnificent example of his output during his time in the asylum.

Van Gogh was especially pleased with The Mulberry Tree and would write to his brother Theo about it in two separate letters. In a letter to his sister, Willemina, Van Gogh wrote:

As regards mulberry trees, there are a lot here. I painted one not long ago when its bushy foliage was a magnificent yellow against a very blue sky and a white, stony, sunlit field behind.

Letter W16

As he mentions in this letter, Van Gogh's commanding use of the colours blue and yellow is particularly effective and he would masterfully employ this colour combination in a number of other outstanding works such as The Yellow House and Harvest in Provence.

Lanier Graham, a former curator at the Norton Simon Museum, wrote of this painting: "As a celebration of the surging forces that pulsate throughout the universe, The Mulberry Tree is one of the most powerful images of nature ever painted."1


1. Graham, Lanier. Vincent van Gogh. Painter. Printmaker. Collector. (Norton Simon Museum, 1990), p. 24.


Owner City Country Date acquired
Mrs. C. Pissarro Paris France  
Ambroise Vollard Art Gallery Paris France  
Alphonse Kann Saint Germain-en-Laye France  
Mr. and Mrs. Norton Simon Los Angeles United States  
Norton Simon Museum of Art Pasadena, California United States 1976


Year City Country Venue Exhibition Name Start Date End Date No.
1890 Paris France Pavillion de la Ville de Paris Exposition de la Societé des Artistes Indépdendants, 4e exposition 22 March 1890 3 May 1890 837
1901 Paris France Galerie Bernheim-Jeune Exposition d'Oeuvres de Vincent van Gogh 15 March 1901 31 March 1901 46
1927 Paris France Galerie Bernheim-Jeune Vincent van Gogh l'époque française 20 June 1927 2 July 1927

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