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're flying through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this fall, keep an eye out for Vincent van Gogh's "Olive Trees" from your airplane window. It won't 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 created featuring olive trees as a subject. He painted 15 alone between June and December of 1889. The one seen on the field is part of the collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minnesota. The strong hues of yellow in the painting would suggest that the picture represents the olive trees in the autumn months. Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, about using the trees as a subject. He said that he struggled 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 unique ode to van Gogh is the work of landscape artist Stan Herd, reports Mary Abbe for the Star Tribune. It was commissioned to honor two milestones: the Minneapolis Institute of Art's centennial and 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 recreate van Gogh's 1889 painting, which is currently on display at the MIA. To mimic the artist's iconic brushwork, Herd grew patches of pumpkins, squash, watermelons and cantaloupes while arranging mulch, rocks and soil to create darker lines, according to Nick Mafi at Architectural Digest.

Herd first started making crop art, which he calls "earthworks," in 1981. His first project was a 160-acre portrait of the Kiowa chief Satanta. In the decades since, he has created dozens of larger-than-life pieces around the world.

Though "Olive Trees" will be on display through the fall, Herd plans to mow it down in concentric circles to mimic van Gogh's brushstrokes, Christopher Jobson reports for Colossal

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

Filed Under:  
Assigned 67 times
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 (17)
  • p1-ryan-pen
    11/02/2015 - 09:20 a.m.

    Stan Herd used pumpkins, squash, and watermelons because those plants would best mimic the iconic brushstrokes, colors, and ideas of Vincent Van Gogh in his painting, "Olive Trees".

  • lillyd-lam
    11/02/2015 - 11:56 a.m.

    I think what this, well, artist captured is that art can be expressed thru many different things making something that is truly beautiful.

  • bethl-lam
    11/02/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    This article was very interesting as well. This is a very unique way of doing art, and a very good idea, to commemorate van Gogh and his amazing art. It sounds like a huge project- it takes up a whole acre of land! I also like that they are mowing it in circlular shapes, to make it look more like van Gogh's original style.

  • allyb-ver
    11/04/2015 - 07:11 p.m.

    This article is about a man recreated a van go piece in a field. This is just amazing I think. Who would of ever thought to do art in a field useing element of nature. He used different martial to show the different element in his work of art.

  • sheilah-6-bar
    11/05/2015 - 09:15 p.m.

    Stan Herd used plants for Van Gogh's because Van Gogh wanted to do something similar. It also symbolizes his death and painting. It says it the article,"The unique ode to van Gogh is the work of landscape artist Stan Herd, reports Mary Abbe for the Star Tribune. It was commissioned to honor two milestones: the Minneapolis Institute of Art's centennial and 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.'" This shows how the painting was made symbolizing his death. I found this article interesting because it shows how much people love art so much, that they would make a giant plant painting.

  • justiny-2-bar
    11/06/2015 - 10:22 a.m.

    The reason Stan Herd used pumpkins, watermelons and squash instead of something else is that in the article it states that it is fall. In the article states it is fall which means that only certain vegetables are able to grow in that season. One thing that really surprises was that someone spent all that time to make the earthwork.

  • jackw-4-bar
    11/06/2015 - 10:49 a.m.

    Stan Herd used pumpkins, watermelons and squash because they made darker lines. Also, that is what he uses for all of his art. This article surprised me because he took time to plant crops for his art.

  • nathank1-buc
    11/09/2015 - 10:53 a.m.

    Stan Herd used pumpkins, watermelon, and squash for a fall touch. It also brings a neat affect on the painting itself. I actually like this version better.

  • krista-fel
    11/09/2015 - 03:15 p.m.

    Because it would match best with the colors on the picture he was making.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    11/12/2015 - 09:16 p.m.

    I think that it is amazing that someone would make a form of art that is so big and so creative. It looks really cool and it is also made from pumpkins, watermelons, and squash. I didn't know that it was made of vegetables and fruits until I read about the painting created by Stan Herd. It would take a lot of fruits and vegetables to make an painting that is so big. It is so big that you could probably see it from a plane if you fly over it. I think that Stan Herd put a lot of effort into making this painting and it turned out great.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT