Art Collections Online

Rain - Auvers

GOGH, Vincent van (1853 - 1890)

Date: 1890

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 50.3 x 100.2 cm

Acquired: 1952; Bequest; Gwendoline Davies

Accession Number: NMW A 2463

Collection: The Davies Sisters Collection

In May 1890 Van Gogh moved from Arles in Provence to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris. There he lodged at the Café Ravoux and received treatment from Dr Paul-Ferdinand Gachet. Between 17 June and 27 July, Van Gogh painted thirteen double-square canvases of the gardens and fields around Auvers. In his last letter he expressed himself 'quite absorbed in the immense plain with wheat fields against the hills, boundless as a sea, delicate yellow, delicate soft green, the delicate violet of a dug-up and weeded piece of soil'. His treatment of the rain as diagonal strokes derives from the woodcut Bridge in the Rain by the Japanese artist Hiroshige, which the artist had copied in 1887. The atmosphere recalls one of Van Gogh's favourite poems, Longfellow's The Rainy Day 'My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary...Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.'

Van Gogh shot himself and died on 29 July 1890, shortly after painting this work. It was purchased by Gwendoline Davies at Paris in 1920.

Comments (26)

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Keri Hanson
12 June 2021, 03:31
I went and saw this in 2012 with professors and students at Aber uni. The curator who gave us the your said that the paint got smashed by the glass when it was first framed as they didn’t take into account how thick the paint was. Since oil never really dries, the paint got smashed down permanently.
26 December 2017, 16:36
i saw the painting this morning in and exhibition in Vicenza, with a very beautiful description by Golin: it moved me to tears
Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
13 February 2017, 11:38

Hi there Mike

I've received the following two replies - from Anne Pritchard, Senior Curator of Historic Art:

"The paint in ‘Rain, Auvers’ was probably flattened by another canvas, which must have been pressed against it, face to face, at a time when the paint was still a little wet. The texture of the canvas weave is imprinted on the paint surface in some areas. Perhaps Van Gogh didn’t have any of the usual ‘spacers’ at hand to separate his canvases when transporting them."

And from Adam Webster, our Chief Conservator or Art and Natural Sciences:

"We have cleaned the painting recently so it is also significantly brighter now. We have gained some insight into fading of pigments as well, implying that the purple hues in the work would have been more prevalent. More work to be done on this in future."

I hope you will find this information interesting, and thanks again for your comment,

Digital Team

Sara Huws Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
3 February 2017, 10:02

Hi there Mike,

Thanks for your question - I have also wondered about this and had to go and have a closer look at the painting on my lunch break! It took me a while, but the patterned marks impressed in the soil started to look like wheeltracks in wet soil, and the flat parts like long grass heavy with rain. These is by no means an 'official' answer - just a co-incidence that I found it interesting, too!

I will pass your enquiry on to the curator and hopefully they will have the right answer for you - I'll post their answer here when I get it. 

Best of luck with your painting,



Digital Team

Best wishes

Digital Team

Mike Beavan
3 February 2017, 09:37
Hello , As I have recently taken up painting I took a close look at how Van Gogh had applied the paint in this particular picture . Could you explain why the fairly thickly applied paint appears to have a flattened appearance and a faint pattern impressed into the surface as if something has been pressed onto it ? I'm intrigued and eagerly await your explanation . Mike Beavan
Wendy Hebard
1 September 2016, 17:36

I have just seen this painting for the first time today in the exhibition: 'Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh' at the Scottish National Gallery here in Edinburgh. For me, it is the most striking picture in the exhibition, so thank you for giving us the chance to see it. I trust it will be returned to you safely.

Sara Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
9 March 2016, 13:20

The painting is currently being cleaned, after having been on tour in America. It should be back on display by the 21st of March - but if you are travelling especially to see it, it's worth ringing ahead to make sure, on 0300 111 2 333.

Thanks for your enquiry

Digital Team

29 February 2016, 16:57


Is the above painting (Van Gogh, Rainy view of Auvers) currently on exhibition at the gallery?

Many thanks.


16 May 2014, 17:09

Your Van Gogh quotation `quite absorbed in the immense with wheat fields against the hills...' was in Vincent's last (undated but given a date c 10th/14th July 1890) letter to his mother in which he is clearly referring to a specific painting he was then engaged upon - this is surprising because Vincent's painting was so rapid and absorbing that it is odd he didn't complete his picture before writing to his mother particularly as there was nothing urgent in the content of the letter. The explanation might be that he was interrupted while painting by the scythers -indeed we find him making many sketches of the scythers at work towards the end of July as the harvest was reaped- this would give a later date to the letter to his mother to very shortly before he shot himself 26th/27th July following the harvesting much as he foretold the previous year at St Remy "I am struggling with a canvas begun some days before my indisposition , a `Reaper' the study is all yellow, terribly thickly painted, but the subject is fine and simple. For I see this reaper - a vague figure fighting like the devil in the midst of the heat to get to the end of his task - I see in him the image of death, in the sense that humanity might be the wheat he is reaping ...But there's nothing sad in this death , it goes its way in broad daylight with a sun flooding everything with a light of pure is an image of death as the great book of nature speaks of it - but what I have sought is the `almost smiling' ... In other words as the compiler of `The Complete Van Gogh' the artist's Catalogue Raisonne Dr Jan Hulsker claimed, one would expect the final painting by Van Gogh to depict the harvesting of the corn: for which these last sketches were evidently intended. Indeed Vincent's mother has appended to the top of the letter `Vincent's last letter from Auvers' not `last letter to me from Auvers' which may be significant as though to settle some dispute that his last thoughts were of his mother. It is interesting that no picture in the artist's established oeuvre answers that partial description in the letter to his mother although the picture, good for period and forensic tests of paints and materials including style and brushwork does indeed exist having never entered into the possession of the artist's family despite being displayed on the wall of his room at the Inn as Vincent's body lay there. 
Who took immediate possession of it is unclear following the funeral and that early broken provenance is enough to ensure it will not be taken seriously by the Van Gogh Museum who are already so terrified of acknowledging the existing fakes in the artist's established oeuvre, particularly during the Auvers period, to dare risk looking at re-emerging works for fear of being taken in again: sadly art scholarship retreats before a broken provenance and nowhere more so than with the Van Gogh Museum.

Amgueddfa Cymru
2 December 2013, 13:55
Dear Bob,
Thank you for your enquiry,
The dimensions of the work are 50.3 x 100.3 cms and the frame dimensions are 65 x 115.5 x 7.5 cms.
We have an image of the work in its frame, if you want a copy emailed to you, please contact

Graham Davies, Online Curator, Amgueddfa Cymru
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