Van Gogh’s Irises

In May of 1889, Van Gogh admitted himself to the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.  In his final year of life, he painted some 130 works.  Within the first week at the asylum, he began to paint Irises; the subject matter was inspired by the asylum’s garden to the south of the men’s section, and the style influenced by Japanese woodblock prints.  We see the Japanese influence in the strong outlines, unusual angles, cropped up-close views of the irises falling off the canvas and the use of color. There are no known drawings or sketches of Irises, probably because Van Gogh considered this to be a study.  He …..

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Van Gogh in May

The month of May was typically a productive month for Van Gogh with improvements in the weather and the flowers and trees in full bloom. In a letter to his brother Theo from May of 1888, Van Gogh wrote about the first painting shown below stating: “A meadow full of very yellow buttercups, a ditch with iris plants with green leaves and purple flowers, the town in the background, a few gray willows – a strip of blue sky. If they don’t mow the meadow I’d like to do this study again, for the subject was very beautiful, and I had some trouble finding the composition.” While Van Gogh’s paintings …..

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Van Gogh Irises

Van Gogh completed Irises in May of 1889 when he was at the asylum in Saint-Rémy. Here he eased back into painting capturing flowers and foliage in the surrounding garden and the star filled nights from his window. In a letter to his brother Theo from May of 1889, Van Gogh wrote: “The idea of my duty to get back to work occurs to me a lot and I believe that all my faculties for work will soon come back to me. It’s just that the work often absorbs me so much that I think that for the rest of my life I will always be a bit absent-minded and …..

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