Van Gogh often writes about the different characteristics of the changing seasons and how he, as an artist, can express their moods in colour. For him, the winter is ‘the snow with the little black silhouettes’, the spring is ‘tender green (young wheat) and pink (apple blossom)’, summer ‘isn’t easy to express’, and autumn is about ‘the contrast of the yellow leaves against violet tones’.
Autumn is his favourite season. He relishes the leaves changing colour and falling, the stormy skies and the melancholy of the twilight. ‘How beautiful it is outside – I sometimes yearn for a country where it would always be autumn.’
The division of the surface in this autumnal painting is based on the central perspective, which is heavily emphasized by the poplar-lined road. The vanishing point coincides with the setting sun. The female figure stands out darkly against the light of the bright orange setting sun. This ‘silhouette’ signifies that one day the sun will set permanently for everyone.