Irises (May, 1890)



Irises (May, 1890)


Vincent was 37 years old


Oil on Canvas

73.3cm x 92.1cm (29in x 36.3in)

Currently at The MET Museum


“I am doing a [canvas] of violet irises, one lot against a pink background in which the effect is soft and harmonious because of the combination of greens, pinks, violets. The canvas will take a whole month to dry, but the attendant here will undertake to send it off after my departure.” (From Vincent to Theo, 11th or 12th of May, 1890)


Vincent van Gogh began his letter as followed: “At present all goes well, the whole horrible attack has disappeared like a thunderstorm and I am working to give a last stroke of the brush here with a calm and steady enthusiasm.”

After having been admitted to the mental asylum, Vincent found himself slowly recovering at one point. It was around this time he created this absolutely (I think magnificent) delicate and theoretically flourishing work. He was recovering from the so called ‘mental illness’ but putting that aside, do you notice the Sunflower painting in the canvas by any chance? I do, and if at the time of Sunflower paintings back in Arles (exclude the reproductions at the asylum) he practiced and completed his implication of Contrasting Color theory which Delacroix integrated in his works, this one: the Irises, he has tamed the colors of gentler and softer complementaries. The support each other (whereas the other Irises is painted in fuller yellow which brings out the subject but the yellow steals the sight of spectators’ eyes


“The day of my departure depends on when I’m packed and have finished my canvases; I am working on the latter with such enthusiasm that packing seems to me more difficult than painting. Anyway, it won’t be long. I am very glad that this has not dragged along, which is always regrettable once you have made up your mind. I am looking forward so much to seeing the exhibition of Japanese prints again, and I don’t at all despise seeing the Salon, where I think there must still be some interesting things, though having read the account in the Figaro, it certainly left me pretty cold.”


#vangogh #art #letter #quote #love

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