Irises vase, Van Gogh
Van Gogh painted Irises shortly after having himself voluntarily committed to the psychiatric institution Saint Paul-de-Mausole. He referred to the painting as ‘a lightning rod for my illness’ because he hoped to avoid descending into madness by painting constantly.
The painting Irises reveals the influence of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints that he and his peers so admired. Vincent only considered the painting a study, but his brother Theo thought it was astounding and immediately sent it to the annual ‘Société des Artistes Indépendants’ exhibition.