Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his mother, Anna van Gogh-Carbentus. [about December 20, 1889] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, p. 240, letter no. 619], writes that he has started a "rather big" picture for her of women gathering olives.
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his brother Theo. [about December 15, 1889] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, pp. 236–37, letter no. 617], describes a picture he is working on of women gathering olives and says that it is done from memory after a study of the same size made on the spot; adds that he will probably make two or three copies, including one for his mother and sister.
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his sister Willemien. [about December 20, 1889] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, p. 464, letter no. W18], writes that "I hope you will like the canvas for you and Mother which I am working on at present. . . . It is a repetition of a picture for Theo, women gathering olives".
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his sister Willemien. [January 20, 1890] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, p. 465, letter no. W19], writes that he hopes that she will like the picture of the women in the olive orchard, and that he sent a drawing of it to Gauguin, who thought it was good.
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his brother Theo. [January 3, 1890] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, p. 243, letter no. 621], writes that among a group of canvases shipped to Theo that day is "Women Gathering Olives," which he had intended for their mother and sister, adding that he also has a copy of it for Theo along with the study from nature.
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his sister Willemien. [January 4, 1890] [English transl. published in "The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh," Greenwich, Conn., 1958, vol. 3, p. 464, letter no. W17], writes that he sent some pictures to Paris the day before, and designated the one of olive trees for her and their mother.
Lucien Moline. Letters to Johanna van Gogh-Bonger. December 17 and 20, 1895 [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam], confirms the purchase of seven pictures, including this one.
Introduction by Arsène Alexandre. Collection Kélékian: tableaux de l'école française moderne. Paris, 1920, unpaginated, pl. 69, as "La cueillette des olives".
J.-B. de La Faille. L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue Raisonné. Paris, 1928, vol. 1, p. 186, no. 655; vol. 2, pl. 183.
W. Scherjon. Catalogue des tableaux par Vincent van Gogh décrits dans ses lettres. Périodes: St. Rémy et Auvers sur Oise. Utrecht, 1932, pp. 76–77, no. 70, ill.
Louis Pierard. Vincent van Gogh. Paris, 1936, unpaginated, no. 45, ill.
W. Scherjon and Jos. De Gruyter. Vincent van Gogh's Great Period: Arles, St. Rémy and Auvers sur Oise (complete catalogue). Amsterdam, 1937, pp. 266–67, St. Rémy no. 70, ill.
J.-B. de La Faille. Vincent van Gogh. London, , pp. 458, 559, 577, 588, no. 665, ill., as in the collection of Wildenstein, Paris.
Werner Weisbach. Vincent van Gogh: Kunst und Schicksal. 2, Basel, , pp. 162–63.
M. E. Tralbaut. "Twee onuitgegeven documenten." De Tafelronde 2, nos. 8–9 (1955), pp. 7–8, suggests that F654 (private collection, Switzerland) is the version done "on the spot" and therefore, that our picture is one of the subsequent versions.
John Rewald. Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin. 1st ed. New York, 1956, p. 358, ill. [3rd, rev. ed., 1978, p. 330, ill. p. 333].
H. R. Graetz. The Symbolic Language of Vincent van Gogh. New York, 1963, p. 222, pl. 86.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX–XX Centuries." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 3, New York, 1967, p. 190.
J.-B. de La Faille. The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings. Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 258–59, 637, no. 655, ill., agrees with Tralbaut [Ref. 1955] that F654, rather than this picture, is the original version.
Wesley Towner completed by Stephen Varble. The Elegant Auctioneers. New York, 1970, p. 330.
Paolo Lecaldano. "Da Arles a Auvers." L'opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh e i suoi nessi grafici. 2, repr. [1st ed., 1966]. Milan, 1971–77, pp. 224–25, no. 744, ill.
Hope Benedict Werness. "Essays on van Gogh's Symbolism." PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1972, pp. 160–62, n. 8.
Matthias Arnold. "Duktus und Bildform bei Vincent van Gogh." PhD diss., Ruprecht-Karl University, Heidelberg, 1973, p. 191 n. 305.
John Rewald. "Should Hoving Be De-accessioned?" Art in America 61 (January–February 1973), p. 28.
Jan Hulsker. The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. [1st ed., Amsterdam, 1977]. New York, 1980, pp. 428–30, no. 1869, ill.
Ronald Pickvance The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers. New York, 1986, pp. 16–17, 53, 55, 98, 304, 318, ill. p. 306, tentatively suggests that this is the painting Van Gogh sent to his mother and sister in January 1890.
Juleke van Lindert in The Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. Amsterdam, 1987, p. 274.
Johannes van der Wolk. The Seven Sketchbooks of Vincent van Gogh. New York, 1987, p. 308, reproduces the sketchbook drawing of the motif (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), referring to it as "the Auvers-sur-Oise version done from memory".
Roland Dorn in Vincent van Gogh and the Modern Movement: 1890–1914. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang, Essen. Freren, Germany, 1990, p. 155 n. 2, p. 158, states that this painting and "Women Picking Olives" (National Gallery of Art, Washington; F656) are versions after "Olive Grove with Two Olive Pickers" (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; F587), and were made as gifts for van Gogh's brother, mother, and sister.
Jan Hulsker. Vincent and Theo van Gogh: A Dual Biography. Trans. and rev. ed. [1st ed. Weesp, Holland, 1985]. Ann Arbor, Mich., 1990, p. 386.
Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), p. 72.
Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 108–9, 111, 200–201, ill. (color and black and white), identifies this picture as the version intended for van Gogh's sister and mother, but is uncertain which of the other two versions is the study done from nature.
Jan Hulsker. Vincent van Gogh: A Guide to His Work and Letters. Amsterdam, 1993, pp. 42–43, 56–57, 76.
Jan Hulsker. The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. rev. ed. Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 428, 430, no. 1869, ill., identifies this picture as the version made for the artist's sister and mother, and F654 (private collection) as the original painting.
Susan Alyson Stein in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1995–1996." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 54 (Fall 1996), p. 46, ill. (color), states that "scholars have tentatively identified" the Washington version (F656) as the original composition, the MMA picture (F655) as the copy made for Van Gogh's sister and mother, and the picture in a private collection (F654) as the copy made for Theo.
Sjraar van Heugten. "Nuenen, 1883–1885." Vincent van Gogh, Drawings. 2, Amsterdam, 1997, p. 237 n. 8, states that this painting and related works (F 654, F 656) are the only Arles and St. Rémy harvest scenes in which human figures are prominent.
Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), p. 147.
Griselda Pollock in Framing France: The Representation of Landscape in France, 1870–1914. Manchester, 1998, p. 105.
Ronald Pickvance. Van Gogh. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2000, pp. 46, 101.
Douglas Druick, and Peter Kort Zegers et al. Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. New York, 2001, pp. 320–21, fig. 89 (color), date it about December 20, 1889.
Chris Stolwijk and Han Veenenbos. The Account Book of Theo van Gogh and Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Amsterdam, 2002, pp. 47, 105, 142, 181, 183, ill., tentatively identify it as one of seven paintings sold by Van Gogh-Bonger for 384 guilders to the Paris dealer Lucien Moline in 1895.
Teio Meedendorp in The Paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the Collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum. Otterlo, 2003, p. 331 n. 1.
Viviane Rosé Universite de Toulouse-Le-Mirail. Temps, Affect, Sensation: de Cézanne à Matisse. 1, Lille, , pp. 229–30.
Laura Ann Coyle. "The Still-Life Paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Their Context." PhD diss., Princeton University, September 2007, p. 477 n. 1266, links the combination of pink and green tones in this and related paintings (F654, F656) to a similar use of colors in four still-lifes, two of which are also at the MMA (F678, F680–82).
Belinda Thomson. Van Gogh Painter: The Masterpieces. Amsterdam, 2007, pp. 160, 162–64, fig. 150 (color).
Marije Vellekoop, and Roelie Zwikker, with the assistance of Monique Hageman. "Arles, Saint-Rémy & Auvers-sur-Oise, 1888–90." Vincent van Gogh, Drawings. 4, Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2007, part 1, p. 27 n. 136, state that it was the model for the drawing F 1729 (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam).
Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 217–20, 226, no. 41, ill. (color).
Susan Alyson Stein in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 220–24, based on close examination by conservators, states that the chronology of the three versions is established: the first study from nature is F654 (private collection), the studio replica intended for Theo is F656 (National Gallery of Art, Washington), and the final version intended for his mother and sister is the MMA picture; notes that this picture was sent to Theo but for unknown reasons was never forwarded by him to Leiden; calls ours the "simplest, most resolved, and most stylized of the three variations on a theme".