Irises

Artist: Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)

Date: 1890

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 29 x 36 1/4 in. (73.7 x 92.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Adele R. Levy, 1958

Accession Number: 58.187

Description

In May 1890, just before he checked himself out of the asylum at Saint-Rémy, Van Gogh painted four exuberant bouquets of spring flowers, the only still lifes of any ambition he had undertaken during his yearlong stay: two of irises, two of roses, in contrasting color schemes and formats. In the Museum’s Irises he sought a “harmonious and soft” effect by placing the “violet” flowers against a “pink background,” which have since faded owing to his use of fugitive red pigments. Another work from this series, Roses (1993.400.5), hangs in the adjacent gallery. Both were owned by the artist’s mother until her death in 1907.

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