In November 1889, Van Gogh asks his brother to send ten metres of canvas as soon as possible, because he has run out completely. But before the canvas arrives, he starts work on this painting. He uses a tablecloth in which a dense pattern of small red blocks is woven. This pattern remains visible in unpainted areas on the canvas.
Van Gogh first uses a brown-purple colour to apply the contours of the mountains and the farm, and the main lines of the fields. He then fills in the scene with flat and impasto brushstrokes, with green tones for the foreground, ochres for the foliage and farm, and above that, blue-purple mountains and a green-yellow sky. With a layered structure and a varied brushstroke, he manages to create a convincing depth in the mountain scene.
The farmhouse is the Mas de Saint-Paul. This 17th century farmhouse is one of the oldest in the area and still exists today. The angular extension on the roof is a dovecote, which indicates that the original occupant must have been a person of stature. The Mas got its name in the mid-19th century when it was inhabited by a doctor from Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where Van Gogh stays for a year from the beginning of 1889.