Irises is one of several paintings of irises by the Dutch Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. It is also one of a series of paintings he made while recovering at an asylum in the south of France the year before his death.
Van Gogh entered the asylum voluntarily and by May of 1889 could be seen working, feeling that this could help him from losing his mind, referring to painting as “the lightning conductor for my illness”.
The noticeable attention to detail can be seen in the strong outlines and unusual angles of his brush strokes. Irises (in all their versions) include close-up views and flattish colors, drawing the eye to the purples and blues.
Theo van Gogh was known to manage his brother’s works of art, submitting them where possible to exhibitions and such. In an authenticated letter, it is said that he spoke to Vincent of the various iris images, exclaiming: “[It] strikes the eye from afar. The Irises are a beautiful study full of air and life.”
Thanks to his brother, Irises is one of van Gogh’s most renowned works. It is also one of the most expensive paintings ever sold – an amazing $54 million in 1987.
See more works by Vincent van Gogh here.