Riding the train to Arles, on the 20th of February 1888, Vincent van Gogh had high hopes. He was leaving behind the dreary weather of winter in Paris, hoping for sun and warmth in the south of France. He was also planning an artists' commune where he could live, and work, with people like Paul Gauguin (whom he'd met in Paris).
As the outside temperature improved, van Gogh could spend more time in the fresh air. Flourishing in his new environment, he painted whatever looked interesting. From blossoming orchard trees to women washing clothes at the Langlois Bridge (shown here as it looks today), Vincent's subjects came alive on his early-spring canvases.
Still thinking he could have a "Studio of the South" for himself and other artists, van Gogh initially leased a room at the Café de la Gare (at 10 Place Lamartine) and rented the famous "Yellow House" (2 Place Lamartine) as a studio/storage facility. He moved into the yellow house (which was later destroyed during WWII) in September.
Focusing on his art, throughout the summer, and disproportionately spending money on supplies instead of food, Vincent was extremely productive and sent Theo shipments of his work. The paintings - including those which became very famous in later years - didn't sell.