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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Irises is a painting by Vincent van Gogh from 1889 and bears clear similarities to Japanese art

Irises is a tranquil painting produced at a time when the artist himself was far from that in his own mind. Sadly, Van Gogh was housed at the asylum in Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France at the time that he painted Irises, 1889. It was just a year before his untimely death and shows a painter at the height of his development as it was around this time that so many of his best and brightest paintings were created.

It is extraordinary to consider that the artist created works like this at that time simply to prevent his own instabilities of mind resurfacing and he was convinced that this type of approach could keep him mentally balanced, at least in the short term. The original Irises painting is now stored at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California and measures a relatively small 71 cm × 93 cm (28 in × 36.625 in). Les Iris was originally intended as simply a study piece for the artist but Vincent's brother, Theo, who was an art dealer decided there was great promise in the work and so added it to exhibited list of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in September 1889 alongside other works of his brother's.

Irises were a popular topic for Vincent Van Gogh who used them in many of his still life and landscape paintings where their bold colours were ideal for his post-impressionist style. The artist commonly used flowers and these were amongst his favourites. covers Van Gogh's career with a particular focus on those paintings that included Irises within them. Van Gogh's Irises is amongst the most frequently reproduced art prints currently thanks to the qualities of the artist's style as well as suitability of flowers for those who appreciate art in their own homes. The Irises seen below features an amazing array of bright impressionist colours including greens, blues, oranges, reds and yellows which may it an excellent choice for the many thousands looking to add some colour to their own wall.

View of Arles with Irises by Vincent van Gogh in May 1888

View of Arles with Irises is one of the artist's most respected landscape paintings and was produced where he spent an important part of his career as he began to understand his talents better and make the most of them. Arles features classic French countryside which was always going to be a great inspiration for any artist driven by colour over subject. The popularity of View of Arles with Irises is certainly the colours used within the painting which give a bright and uplifting landscape painting which shows off the merits of the French countryside brilliantly.

The original benefits from the artist's typically thick brushstrokes which helped to give an almost three dimensional finish to the painting which almost make the viewer feel as if they are in Arles themselves. Saint-Remy Irises 1889 has clear similarities to Japanese art and it is specifically the art medium of ukiyo-e woodblock prints that bears so much resemblance to the paintings included in this website, and also it was this art form that was heavily studied by an enthusiastic Van Gogh who was just one of a large number of artists who at this time were seeking as many new influences from cultures as far and wide as possible.

There are countless more works in this artist's career which have even more obvious links to Asian influences. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles purchased this original painting back in 1990 and holds a position in the top 20 most expensive painting purchases of all time which underlines both the popularity of the artist, which is obvious to all, but also the specific interest in this particular work which came at a highly significant time in the life of the artist and also was an exceptional piece in it's own right.

Almond Branches in Bloom is currently the most popular reproduction produced from the career of Vincent van Gogh, despite the fact that historically many others of his paintings have actually been more famous and received greater exposure within the mainstream media. The reason for it's popularity is simply the beauty of the painting and the exceptionally skilled choice of colours which leaves a charming work that can easily fit in most homes and leave a truly positive and calming impact. It is the sort of art that is easily accessible to all and immediately impressive without any understanding of the history of the painting or artist. This accessibility is what has helped Van Gogh to become so popular in the modern era.

It is easy to see from Almond Branches in Bloom just how the artist was influenced by Japanese art within his career as this painting has an obvious similarity to many tradtional Japanese paintings. The use of intertwined tree branches with pretty flowers decorating their tips is undeniably influenced by Asian artists and perhaps this combination of the colours of European post-impressionism with stylish, feminine Asian influences is a winning combination.

List of Famous Vincent Van Gogh Paintings

Besides those featured here, there is an extraordinary list of great paintings from the career of Vincent Van Gogh, which many of the best titles listed below:

  • The Night Café
  • The Yellow House
  • Falling Autumn Leaves
  • L'allée des Alyscamps
  • Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers
  • Starry Night Over the Rhone
  • The Starry Night
  • Irises
  • Self-portrait
  • The Caravans Gipsy Camp near Arles
  • Portrait of a Man
  • Milliet Second Lieutenant
  • Paul Gauguin Armchair
  • The Church at Auvers
  • Portrait of Dr. Gachet
  • Thatched Cottages by a Hill
  • Wheat Field with Crows
  • Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat
  • Potato Eaters
  • A Wheatfield with Cypresses
  • The Old Mill
  • Sower with Setting Sun
  • Mulberry Tree
  • Vincents Chair with Pipe
  • Moulin de la Galetter
  • Open Bible
  • Postman Joseph Roulin
  • Adeline Ravoux
  • Still Life with Roses and Anemones
  • Gordina de Groot
  • Four Cut Sunflowers
  • Apricot Trees in Blossom
  • Mother Roulin with Her Baby
  • Old Woman of Arles
  • Oise Riverside
  • Houses at Auvers
  • Cypresses

List of Famous Vincent Van Gogh Flower Paintings

Flowers were integral to many paintings from Vincent Van Gogh and go far beyond just those shown within this site. For those looking to study his career in further detail and understand more about the different ways in which he included flowers within his career pleas see the list below of all titles where he used different types of flowers.

  • Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy
  • Irises, Saint-Remy
  • Mulberry Tree
  • Woods and Undergrowth
  • Red Vineyard at Arles
  • Almond Blossom
  • Sunflowers
  • Vase with Daisies and Poppies
  • Field of Poppies
  • Peach Tree in Bloom at Arles
  • Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass
  • Crown Imperial Fritillaries in a Copper Vase
  • Vase of Flowers
  • Vase of Irises Against a Yellow Background
  • Garden in Bloom
  • Landscape with Olive Trees
  • Vase with Oleanders and Books
  • Vase of Roses
  • Vase of Lilacs, Daisies and Anemones
  • Vase of Irises