Although he is best known for his visionary and mystical works, Vedder developed a lifelong interest in painting the Italian countryside during the 1860s while living in Florence. There Vedder associated with a group of Italian landscape artists known as the Macchiaioli. These painters eschewed academic practice and drew inspiration from the plein-air works of French artists such as Gustave Courbet. Probably painted in Rome in the 1880s, Cypress and Poppies reflects the enduring influence of Vedder's contact with Macchiaioli landscapes in its soft atmosphere and splashes of bright color.
Signature: [at lower right]: Elihu Vedder
Reverend and Mrs. Daniel Merriman, Boston, by 1892; Florence Edith McDonald Nesbitt, until 1963; her daughter, Miss Frances Nesbett and the latter's friend, Miss Trudy Eyges, Belmont, Massachusetts, 1963; with Vose Galleries, Boston, 1963; Mrs. Iola Stetson Haverstick, New York, 1963–1982