Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) viewed wheat as a central metaphor of the cycle of life and the creative process. As such, it was a theme that he consistently explored throughout his career. This book examines the artist's personal and visual fascination with wheat, analyzing the significance that the motif--and by extension, the peasant at work in nature--played within the social and cultural framework of 19th-century France and in the works of other artists of the time. Focusing on his Sheaves of Wheat at the Dallas Museum of Art--one of thirteen canvases completed in the last month of his life--this beautiful book features illustrations of Van Gogh's works as well as personal correspondence and letters. Related images by such prominent contemporary artists as Emile Bernard, Jules Breton, Charles F. Daubigny, Paul Gauguin, Jean-Francois Millet, Claude Monet, and Camille Pissarro are also included. Together these works reveal the larger social and political trends of 19th-century France.