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30 x 24 in.
Frame: 1 In.
Width: 30 In.
Height: 24 In.
Irises is one of many paintings and prints of irises by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. Vincent van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. There, in the last year before his death, he created almost 130 paintings. Within the first week, he began Irises, working from nature in the asylum's garden. The cropped composition divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing its borders.
Irises was painted before his first attack at the asylum. There is a lack of the high tension which is seen in his later works. He called the painting "the lightning conductor for my illness" because he felt that he could keep himself from going insane by continuing to paint.
The painting was most likely influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints like many of his works and those by other artists of the time. The similarities occur with strong outlines, unusual angles, including close-up views, and also flattish local color.
He considered this painting a study which is probably why there are no known drawings for it, although Theo, Van Gogh's brother, thought better of it and quickly submitted it to the annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in September 1889, together with Starry Night Over the Rhone. He wrote to Vincent of the exhibition: "It strikes the eye from afar. The Irises are a beautiful study full of air and life."
The first owner was Julien "Père" Tanguy, a paint grinder and art dealer whose portrait van Gogh painted three times. In 1892 Tanguy sold Irises to art critic and anarchist Octave Mirbeau who was also one of Van Gogh's first supporters. Mirbeau paid 300 francs for it.
In 1987, it became the most expensive painting ever sold, setting a record which stood for two and a half years.Then it was sold for US$53.9 million to Alan Bond, but Bond did not have enough money to pay for it. Irises was later re-sold in 1990 to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Irises is currently (as of 2012) tenth on the inflation-adjusted list of most expensive paintings ever sold and in 25th place if the effects of inflation are ignored.
A little over a year earlier Van Gogh painted Cafe at Night or (Cafe Terrace At Night) and Night Stars (Starry Night Over The Rhone). Irises was completed around the same time Van Gogh painted The Starry Night.
The original work was produced in May (1889) and is currently at The Getty Museum in Malibu California.
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