Irises, 1889

Irises, 1889


Only a week into his stay at the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where he remained from May 1889 to May 1890, Van Gogh painted this stunning picture of a dense clump of irises. With its extremely low point of view, the artist shares a unique experience of the natural world, as if we are almost one with it. Dominated by purplish-blues, greens, and flashes of gold, the work demonstrates both close observation and bold stylization. A Japanese influence is felt in the painting’s asymmetrical composition, radical cropping, and strongly outlined stalks and blossoms, which appear as vibrant and wondrous as the stained glass window of a church.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, Irises, 1889. Oil on canvas, 27.95 x 36.61 in. (71 x 93) J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles/Bridgeman Images.