Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his brother Theo. [May 11, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b680 V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. 633; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. 870], states that he is working on "two canvases of large bouquets of violet Irises, one lot against a pink background in which the effect is harmonious and soft through the combination of greens, pinks, violets" [this picture]; continues "On the contrary, the other violet bouquet (ranging up to pure carmine and Prussian blue) standing out against a striking lemon yellow background with other yellow tones in the vase and the base on which it rests is an effect of terribly disparate complementaries that reinforce each other by their opposition” [F678]; mentions that "these canvases will take a good month to dry, but the man who works here will take care of sending them after my departure".
Vincent van Gogh. Draft of a letter to his sister Willemien. [on or about May 21, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b721 V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. W21; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. RM19], writes "in the last few days at St-Rémy I worked in a frenzy. Big bouquets of flowers, violet irises, big bouquets of roses".
Vincent van Gogh. Draft of a letter to his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo van Gogh-Bonger. [May 24, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b696 V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. 648; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. RM20], mentions at least eight canvases still in Saint-Rémy (of which this was one) which show that he is "trying not to lose my touch".
Vincent van Gogh. Draft of a letter to Joseph Jacob Isaäcson. [May 25, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b663 V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. 614a; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. RM21], states that since their last correspondence he has made "a few studies of flowers" and describes them as "an avalanche of roses against a green background and a very large bouquet of violet Irises against yellow background, against pink background" (F678 and the present picture).
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his sister Willemien. [June 5, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b722 V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. W22; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. 879], writes "in the last few days at St-Rémy I worked like a man in a frenzy, especially on bouquets of flowers. Roses and violet Irises".
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to his brother Theo. [June 24, 1890] [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, inv. no. b692V/1962; pub. in Van Gogh Letters 1958, letter no. 644; Van Gogh Letters 2009, letter no. 891], mentions that the canvases have arrived from Saint-Rémy, stating "the Irises have dried well and I dare believe that you'll find something in them".
Theo van Gogh. Letter to his sister Willemien. August 24, 1890 [Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; excerpted and trans. in Jan Hulsker, "what Theo really thought of Vincent," vincent: bulletin of the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, vol. 3, no. 2 (1974), pp. 25–26], mentions that Vincent's works from Auvers are at Tanguy's.
Maurice Beaubourg. "La Mort de Dubois-Pillet et de Vincent van-Gogh." La revue indépendante 16 (September 1890), p. 401 [excerpted and trans. in Stein 1986, p. 260], in an essay citing works on view in Paris 1890, remarks "Des fleurs aussi, iris ou roses, se détachant crûment sur des fonds jaunes, rose [MMA painting], vert Véronèse" (Some flowers as well, irises or roses, stand out crudely against yellow, pink, and Veronese-green backgrounds).
Julius Meier-Graefe. Entwicklungsgeschichte der Modernen Kunst. Stuttgart, 1904, vol. 1, p. 119 n. 1, writes that Van Gogh's mother, The Hague, owns "Zwei Blumenstilleben 'Roses' [MMA 1993.400.5] und 'Iris' [this picture] und mehrere kleinere Bilder".
Julius Meier-Graefe. Vincent. Munich, 1921, vol. 1, pp. 219–20 [English ed., "Vincent van Gogh," London, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 76–77].
Julius Meier-Graefe. "Die Franzosen in Berlin." Der Cicerone 19 (January 1927), p. 44, ill. p. 51, as "Iris im Krug"; notes that Berlin 1927 was organized by the Galerien Thannhauser and took place in the Berliner Künstlerhaus; mentions the masterpieces by Van Gogh on view from Giulietta von Mendelssohn's collection and the Durieux-Cassirer collection.
K[arl]. Sch[effler]. "Kunstausstellungen: Berlin." Kunst und Künstler 25 (April 1927), ill. p. 270, as "Schwertlilien," exhibited at the Galerie Matthiesen, Berlin.
J.-B. de La Faille. L'Oeuvre de Vincent van Gogh: Catalogue Raisonné. Paris, 1928, vol. 1, pp. 193–94, no. 680; vol. 2, pl. 190, as "Nature morte: les iris," dated May 1890; describes the picture, writing "dans une cruche en grès gris cernée de bleu d'outremer trempent des iris bleu de cobalt et d'outremer et quelques fleurs d'ocre rouge. Ce vase est posé sur un plan vert de cobalt pâle. Fond blanc chaud" (immersed in a gray stoneware jug outlined in ultramarine blue are cobalt-and-ultramarine blue irises and a few red ocher flowers. The vase is placed on a plane of pale cobalt green. Warm white background).
Die Piper-Drucke. [Munich?], 1928 or 1929, no. 34, ill. (color), as "Irisstrauß," private collection, Berlin.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Vincent van Gogh: Mit Vierundfünfzig abbildungen und dem faksimile eines briefes. 6th revised ed. Munich, 1929, ill p. 45, calls it "Irisstrauß" and identifies the owner as Frau W. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Grunewald; notes that a color reproduction is available from Piper-Drucke.
Catalogue des photographies d'oeuvres d'art: Procédés E. Druet, peintures et sculptures modernes. Paris, [193–?], p. 109, no. 7156, advertises photographic reproductions of this painting, calling it "Nature morte, fleurs dans un pot".
W. Scherjon. Catalogue des tableaux par Vincent van Gogh décrits dans ses lettres. Périodes: St. Rémy et Auvers sur Oise. Utrecht, 1932, p. 112, no. 111, ill., as "Bouquet de fleurs d'iris violets (fond rose)".
Alfred Bader. Künstler-Tragik: Karl Stauffer, Vincent van Gogh. Basel, 1932, p. 92.
Ausstellung Piper-Drucke und Plastik von Julius Martin im Museum, 24. Januar bis 21. Februar 1932. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Winterthur. Winterthur, 1932, p. 6, no. 66 (of exhibited reproductions), as "Irisstrauß".
Lamberto Vitali. Vincent van Gogh. Milan, 1936, pl. 28, as "Natura morta," in the collection of Giulietta V. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Berlin-Grunewald.
W. Scherjon and Jos. De Gruyter. Vincent van Gogh's Great Period: Arles, St. Rémy and Auvers sur Oise (complete catalogue). Amsterdam, 1937, p. 302, Saint-Rémy no. 111, ill.
Jean de Beucken. Vincent van Gogh: un portrait. [Brussels], n.d., p. 108.
J.-B. de La Faille. Vincent van Gogh. London, , pp. 484, 560, 583, 588, no. 701, ill.
Art News 42 (October 15–31, 1943), p. 5, ill. on cover (color), notes that it is being lent to exhibition New York 1943 by Dr. and Mrs. David M. Levy.
John Rewald. Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin. 1st ed. New York, 1956, pp. 380, 394, ill. p. 383 [3rd, rev. ed., 1978, pp. 354, 368, ill. p. 355], as "Irises in a Vase," in the collection of Dr. and Mrs. David M. Levy, New York.
Adeline Ravoux Carrié. "Les Souvenirs d'Adeline Ravoux sur le séjour de Vincent van Gogh à Auvers-sur-Oise." Les Cahiers de Van Gogh 1 (), p. 15 [excerpted and trans. in Stein 1986, p. 216], mentions that after Van Gogh's death "Les Iris" [this canvas and/or F678] were left in his room at the inn owned by the Ravoux family.
Vincent van Gogh. The Complete Letters of Vincent van Gogh with Reproductions of All the Drawings in the Correspondence. Greenwich, Conn., 1958, under letter nos. 614a, 633, 644, 648, W21, W22.
Catalogue of Colour Reproductions of Paintings—1860 to 1961. Paris, 1961, p. 176, no. 451, ill.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 191–92, ill.
Jean Leymarie. Van Gogh. [1st ed., 1968]. New York, 1977, pp. 155–56, 158.
J.-B. de La Faille. The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings. Amsterdam, 1970, pp. 266–67, 638, no. 680, ill., as "Still Life: Vase with Irises Against a Pink Background".
Paolo Lecaldano. L'opera pittorica completa di Van Gogh e i suoi nessi grafici. Vol. 2, Da Arles a Auvers. repr. [1st ed., 1966]. Milan, 1971–77, p. 229, no. 794, ill. p. 227, as "Vaso con fiori (iris, con fondo rosa)".
Jan Hulsker, ed. Van Gogh's "Diary": The Artist's Life in His Own Words and Art. New York, 1971, pp. 146–47, 167, ill.
Matthias Arnold. "Duktus und Bildform bei Vincent van Gogh." PhD diss., Ruprecht-Karl University, Heidelberg, 1973, pp. 121, 188 nn. 215, 219, p. 192 n. 346, p. 194 n. 405.
J. Hulsker, ed. Van Gogh door Van Gogh. De brieven als commentaar op zijn werk. Amsterdam, 1973, pp. 203, 205–7, 209, 220, identifies references to the painting in the artist's letters.
Charles S. Moffett. Vincent van Gogh. New York, 1979, p. 13, colorpls. 14–15 (overall and detail).
Jan Hulsker. The Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. [1st ed., Amsterdam, 1977]. New York, 1980, pp. 448, 450, 452, no. 1978, ill., as "Vase with Violet Irises against a Pink Background".
Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov. Vincent van Gogh and the Birth of Cloisonism. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto, 1981, p. 158.
Susan Alyson Stein, ed. Van Gogh: A Retrospective. New York, 1986, pp. 216 [this work and/or F678], 260, colorpl. 111, excerpts and translates Carrié 1957 and Beaubourg 1890.
Ronald Pickvance The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers. New York, 1986, pp. 72, 82, 185–86, 205, 210, no. 52, ill. (color), notes that the pink background has sunk so that the color contrasts Van Gogh sought are no longer evident.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, ill. in color on title pages.
Walter Feilchenfeldt. Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cassirer, Berlin: The Reception of Van Gogh in Germany from 1901 to 1914. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1988, pp. 27, 29, 66, 112, 146, 149, 155–56, ill., gives early provenance and exhibition history.
Judith Bumpus. Van Gogh's Flowers. Oxford, 1989, pp. 58–59, colorpl. 31.
Monique Nonne. Le jardin de Van Gogh. Paris, 1989, pp. 100–101, ill. (color).
Evert van Uitert et al. Vincent van Gogh: Paintings. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Milan, 1990, p. 254, ill.
Roland Dorn in Vincent van Gogh and the Modern Movement: 1890–1914. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang, Essen. Freren, Germany, 1990, p. 175 n. 2.
Walter Feilchenfeldt in Vincent van Gogh and the Modern Movement: 1890–1914. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang, Essen. Freren, Germany, 1990, p. 44, states that Bernheim-Jeune found this work and MMA 1993.400.5 "too expensive" and that Cassirer subsequently bought them from Van Gogh's mother's estate, selling the present painting to Robert von Mendelssohn.
Hans Bronkhorst. Vincent van Gogh. New York, , p. 142.
Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, p. 111.
Takanori Nagai in Vincent van Gogh and Japan. Exh. cat., National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. [Tokyo?], 1992, p. 188, fig. 32.
Jan Hulsker. Vincent van Gogh: A Guide to His Work and Letters. Amsterdam, 1993, pp. 42, 57–58, 76, dates letter no. 614a to May 25, 1890, no. W21 to about May 20, no. W22 to about June 5, and no. 644 to June 24 or 25; lists all the works mentioned in each letter, and corrects passages of the French to English translation [see Refs. 1890].
Ingo F. Walther and Rainer Metzger. Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Paintings. Cologne, 1993, vol. 2, ill. p. 624 (color) [German ed., 1989, "Vincent van Gogh: Sämtliche Gemälde"].
Matthias Arnold. Vincent van Gogh: Werk und Wirkung. Munich, 1995, pp. 277, 289–90, colorpl. 142.
Jan Hulsker. The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches. rev. ed. Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 448, 450, 496, no. 1978, ill. p. 452, dates it May 5–11, 1890.
Juleke van Lindert and Louis van Tilborgh in Vincent van Gogh and His Time: Still Lifes from the Van Gogh Museum and the H.W. Mesdag Museum. Exh. cat., Seiji Togo Memorial Yasuda Kasai Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 1996, pp. 70, 142, fig. 13a.
Cynthia Saltzman. Portrait of Dr. Gachet: The Story of a Van Gogh Masterpiece. New York, 1998, pp. 110, 235, 280, states that Cassirer sold it for DM 9,000 in March 1908.
Jean-Paul Rioux in Anne Distel and Susan Alyson Stein. Cézanne to Van Gogh: The Collection of Doctor Gachet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1999, p. 107, mentions it during a discussion of the discoloration of various pigments used by Van Gogh.
Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov. Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers. [New York], 1999, p. 259, ill. p. 224 (color).
Colin B. Bailey and John Collins. Van Gogh's Irises: Masterpiece in Focus. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1999, pp. 18–19, 23, ill. pp. 20 and 23 (both in color).
Debra N. Mancoff. Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers. San Francisco, 1999, p. 57, ill. (color).
Ronald Pickvance. Van Gogh. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2000, pp. 54, 59, 63, 108, 112, 115.
Andrea Kirsh and Rustin S. Levenson. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. New Haven, 2000, pp. 164–65, fig. 171 (color).
David Grossvogel. Behind the Van Gogh Forgeries: A Memoir. San Jose, Calif., 2001, p. 134.
Chris Stolwijk and Han Veenenbos. The Account Book of Theo van Gogh and Jo van Gogh-Bonger. Amsterdam, 2002, pp. 148, 184, ill., identify it as one of three paintings sold by Van Gogh-Bonger for 8,150 guilders to Paul Cassirer in 1908, noting that Van Gogh-Bonger recorded only one of these works ("Garden"; F814; private collection) in her account book, since the other two (this work and "Vase of Roses"; F682; MMA, 1993.400.5) came from the estate of her mother-in-law, Anna Van Gogh-Carbentus, who had died in 1907.
Teio Meedendorp in The Paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the Collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum. Ed. Toos van Kooten and Mieke Rijnders. Otterlo, 2003, p. 291.
Martin Bailey in Van Gogh and Britain: Pioneer Collectors. Exh. cat., Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Edinburgh, 2006, pp. 110, 141 n. 30, states that the lender to Exh. Berlin 1928 was Giulietta von Mendelssohn–Bartholdy, Berlin; ties the painting to Valerie Alport, about 1929, based on a reference in the autobiographical novel "The Temple," by Stephen Spender, but then argues that Alport owned a different Van Gogh.
Walter Feilchenfeldt. By Appointment Only: Cézanne, Van Gogh and Some Secrets of Art Dealing. English ed. London, 2006, p. 64, states that Johanna van Gogh-Bonger sold it to Cassirer in 1908, who in turn sold it to von Mendelssohn.
Zsuzsa Gonda in Van Gogh in Budapest. Ed. Judit Geskó. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts. Budapest, 2006, pp. 358–59, 551, no. 70, ill. (color).
Marije Vellekoop, and Roelie Zwikker, with the assistance of Monique Hageman. Vincent van Gogh, Drawings. Vol. 4, Arles, Saint-Rémy & Auvers-sur-Oise, 1888–90. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2007, part 2, p. 419.
Laura Ann Coyle. "The Still-Life Paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Their Context." PhD diss., Princeton University, September 2007, pp. 476–79, fig. 7.14, the figure is identified as 7.14 in the text, but misnumbered as 7.12 in the illustration section.
Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, p. 11.
Susan Alyson Stein in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 174, 259–60, no. 162, ill. (color and black and white).
Susan Alyson Stein in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, p. 233, fig. 170 (color).
Vincent van Gogh. Vincent van Gogh—The Letters. Ed. Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten, and Nienke Bakker. London, 2009, vol. 5, pp. 232, 235, fig. 3 (color), under letter no. 870, pp. 250, 254, fig. 9 (color), under letter no. 879, p. 268, fig. 1 (color), under letter no. 891, p. 317, fig. 1 (color), under letter no. RM19, p. 319, fig. 8 (color), under letter no. RM20, pp. 320–21, fig. 13 (color), under letter no. RM21.
Jennifer Helvey. Irises: Vincent van Gogh in the Garden. Los Angeles, 2009, pp. 53, 57, 70, fig. 28 (color), discusses it (as "Bouquet of Irises") as one of three cut-flower still lifes from the end of his year in the asylum, as opposed to the growing "Irises" (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) he painted upon arrival; notes the artist's description of them with regard to the use of complementary colors; discusses precedents in Japanese woodblock prints and Dutch seventeenth-century still life paintings as well as the reasons for choosing irises as his subject; calls them a "farewell to the south".
Thomas Blubacher. "Eleonora (1900–1951) and Francesco von Mendelssohn (1901–1972), Berlin." Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice. Ed. Melissa Müller Monika Tatzkow. New York, 2010, pp. 73–74, 80 [German ed., Munich, 2009], states that former owners Eleonora and Francesco von Mendelssohn emigrated together to New York in autumn 1935, bringing with them paintings from their collection; includes a photograph of them (with Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya) on board the S.S. Majestic upon their arrival on September 10, 1935.
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. Van Gogh: The Life. New York, 2011, p. 819.
Louis van Tilborgh in Ella Hendriks et al. Vincent van Gogh: Paintings. Vol. 2, Antwerp & Paris, 1885–1888: Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam, 2011, p. 25 n. 25, notes Gallimard's interest in buying it as well as two other Paris canvases but states that he probably bought nothing in the end.
Walter Feilchenfeldt. Vincent van Gogh: The Years in France. Complete Paintings 1886–1890. London, 2013, pp. 26, 32 n. 45, pp. 186, 294, 312, 315, 319, 343, 347, ill. (color) [1st German ed., 2009], calls it "Irises" and "Vase with Irises against a Pink Background"; identifies it as no. 277, Iris, on the Bonger list of 1890 [see Notes].
Julian Bell. Van Gogh: A Power Seething. Boston, 2015, p. 138.
Edwin Mullins. Van Gogh: The Asylum Year. London, 2015, pp. 181, 184, notes that the artist chose to complete his asylum year as he started it, painting irises in the garden.
Stefan Koldehoff. Ich und van Gogh: Bilder, Sammler und ihre abenteuerlichen Geschichten. Berlin, 2015, p. 185, misidentifies the MMA painting as having been purchased by Franz Mendelssohn and his younger cousin Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, instead of Franz's brother Robert and inherited and later sold by his children; also misidentifies it as later acquired by Walter Annenberg.