Irises by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh's friend Pastor Salles, who had rallied round the artist since his first breakdown, suggested that he have himself committed to the asylum in the nearby town of Saint-Remy, a course of action that Van Gogh was in agreement with. One of the artist's greatest fears surrounding the move, however, was that he should be allowed to paint, so he could somehow contribute towards the 100 franc monthly rent that Theo would have to find. On 8 May accompanied by Pastor Salles, Van Gogh made the short trip to Saint-Remy where he came under the core of the asylum's director, Dr Peyron. He was given a ground floor room and within the month was painting again, with Irises, being one of the first he finished. The vivid colours of the flowers had instantly captivated Van Gogh who depicted them as a densely packed profusion of colour nestling amongst a crowd of brood, green leaves atop a rich, earthy soil. The painting was exhibited at the 1889 Salon des Independents and sold for 300 francs to Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917) in 1892,