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A view at Auvers-sur-Oise, a small town just north of Paris. Van Gogh spent the last few months of his life there, from mid-May 1890, when he left an asylum, to his death on 29 July. At the beginning of June, Van Gogh wrote to his sister: 'there are some roofs of mossy thatch here which are superb and of which I shall certainly make something'. This picture, which is unfinished, was probably begun soon afterwards. Painted direct from the motif, it shows how Van Gogh transformed what he saw into something entirely personal, using a vigorous brushwork and curving outlines to express an unsettling vitality and energy.

March 1996