Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
In 1889 and 1890 Van Gogh stayed in a psychiatric hospital in the southern French village of Saint-Rémy. He worked hard there, seeking the majority of his subjects in nature. After a period of illness that ended in April 1890, he threw himself into the production of a number of flower still lifes. He painted roses and two canvases with large bunches of purple irises. One of these was painted against a pink background, ‘the other purple bouquet (which extends to pure carmine and Prussian blue), is set against a bright lemon-yellow background with other yellow tints in the vase & the base it stands on. Its effect is one of enormously divergent complementary colors that are exalted by their oppositions,’ he wrote in a letter to his brother Theo.