Art for autumn: Van Gogh painting is made of pumpkins, watermelons and squash Stan Herd created a giant replica of "Olive Trees" that covers more than an acre of land. (Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Art for autumn: Van Gogh painting is made of pumpkins, watermelons and squash
Lexile

If you are flying through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this fall, look down. You can keep an eye out for Vincent van Gogh's "Olive Trees" from your airplane window. It will not be hard to miss. This aerial crop art covers more than an acre of land.

Van Gogh painted "Olive Trees" in 1889. It was one of many paintings he did of olive trees. He painted 15 alone between June and December of 1889. 

The one seen on the field is at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It is in Minnesota. 

There are strong shades of yellow in the painting. They might show the olive trees in the fall months. Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo. He wrote about using the trees as a subject. He said that it was not easy. 

He was trying to "catch (the olive trees). They are old silver, sometimes with more blue in them, sometimes greenish, bronzed, fading white above a soil which is yellow, pink, violet tinted orange...very difficult."

The strange ode to van Gogh is the work of landscape artist Stan Herd. That is according reports from Mary Abbe for the Star Tribune

It was made to honor two milestones. The first is the Minneapolis Institute of Art's 100th birthday. The second is the 125th anniversary of van Gogh's death. 

"It's an iteration of van Gogh's painting writ large in native plants and materials," Herd tells Abbe. "The opportunity to engage with one of my favorite artists in the world was pretty unique for me."

It took Herd six months of digging and planting to make van Gogh's 1889 painting. The work is currently on display at the MIA. Herd planted crops to copy the artist's iconic brushwork. He grew patches of pumpkins. He grew squash and watermelons. He also grew cantaloupes. 

He placed mulch, rocks and soil to create darker lines. That is according to Nick Mafi at Architectural Digest.

Herd first started making crop art in 1981. He calls it "earthworks." His first project was a 160-acre portrait of the Kiowa chief Satanta. He has made dozens of larger-than-life pieces around the world.

"Olive Trees" will be on display through the fall. But Herd plans to mow it down. He will do that in concentric circles. This should help copy van Gogh's brushstrokes. That is according to Christopher Jobson reporting for Colossal. 

Stan Herd, Of Us and Art: The 100 Videos Project, Episode 30 from Minneapolis Institute of Art on Vimeo.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did Stan Herd use pumpkins, watermelons and squash instead of something else?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (42)
  • savannahm-gon
    11/02/2015 - 03:55 p.m.

    because they are healthy for u and they are almost the same size and shape

  • rileyc-gon
    11/02/2015 - 03:55 p.m.

    To copy the artists iconic work.

  • mariom-gon
    11/02/2015 - 03:57 p.m.

    because stan herd called it earth work

  • chrisg-gon
    11/02/2015 - 03:57 p.m.

    because they like food

  • siaram-gon
    11/02/2015 - 03:58 p.m.

    Because maybe he couldn't find the other colors to match the artists work.

  • anyahd-gon
    11/02/2015 - 04:01 p.m.

    so he could the copy the artist iconic brushwork

  • justinc1-gon
    11/02/2015 - 04:04 p.m.

    It looks very beautiful

  • maxv-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:06 a.m.

    Stan Herd used those plants because they were colorful and expressful.

  • georgiam-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:07 a.m.

    He probably used pumpkins watermelons and squash because, it was very natural. It also makes the "earthwork" look more natural.

  • isabellar-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:07 a.m.

    Stan Herd wanted the painting to be made of plants so he got his colors from plants.He is an earth artist so he uses things from earth.

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