Vincent van Gogh painted Willows at Sunset in 1888. The vivid tones of van Gogh's palette announce the change of season from summer to autumn.
After months of passionate and unrelenting work in solitary circumstances, van Gogh was physically drained and deeply lonely. He felt a parallel in the ebbing vitality of the cycle of the seasons. The bare branches of the willows appear animated, as if they twist to reach out into the last rays of vigorous heat cast by the setting sun.