Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
Van Gogh painted this still life in the psychiatric hospital at Saint-Rémy. He viewed Irises primarily as a colour study, and he painted the luxuriant bouquet twice. He set out in this version to achieve a powerful colour contrast, while in the other still life he pursued the opposite – a soft, pastel effect. The flowers are placed against a uniformly yellow background, making them stand out even more strongly. The irises were originally purple, but the red pigment has since faded, turning them blue.
Van Gogh applied the paint thickly, which meant they would take a month to dry. He was unable therefore to take them with him when he left Saint-Rémy two weeks later, and a member of the hospital staff agreed to send them on. Five weeks later, Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo to tell him that the canvases had arrived: ‘the Irises have dried well’.
Resource: Rights: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Creator: Vincent van Gogh
Date Created: May 1890 – 1890
Location Created: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
Technique: Oil on canvas
Location: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam