Art for autumn: Van Gogh painting is made of pumpkins, watermelons and squash
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
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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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Why did Stan Herd use pumpkins, watermelons and squash instead of something else?
Write your answers in the comments section below

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

    He did it so it would look nicer and so he could put more native plants in the painting.

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

    He used those foods instead of something else because those where the things that the painter used.

  • willr-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:12 a.m.

    He wanted to be like Vango.

  • covingtonh-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:12 a.m.

    He used those things because the painting was so bright and colorful. He used those things because there were just so many of them.He couldn't eat all of it . When he was in a plane he saw this huge grass field with nothing, it was just plain. He thought to himself" i am going to make something so everyone can see it" because all the the people sitting on the left side of the plane could see the beautiful thing and he said he was going to make a painting.

  • lyndonb-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:13 a.m.

    He used pumpkins,watermelons,and squash because he wanted to make the brushstrokes right .He wanted it to be colorful.

  • emiliec-haw
    11/03/2015 - 09:15 a.m.

    I think he used pumpkins,watermelons,and squash because they are pretty and colorful.I think that zucchini looks worse than the others.

  • hunterp-bel
    11/03/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    They all have the brightest colors

  • jenniek-bel
    11/03/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    It was the color of the thing he needed it for

  • mattl-bel
    11/03/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    Because they might not have the right colors to make it look the same

  • taylort1-bel
    11/03/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    The artist painted it a certain color and the pumpkins, watermelons and squash were the right color.

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