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Vase Of Roses

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Vase Of Roses, 1890

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The last days in Saint-Rémy I worked like a madman. Great bouquets of flowers, violet-colored irises, huge bunches of roses...
About Painting

- Vincent Van Gogh


Vase Of Roses, 1890

Van Gogh painted Still Life: Vase with Pink Roses shortly before his release from the Saint-Rémy asylum.

As the end of his stay in Saint-Rémy and the days ahead in Auvers-sur-Oise neared, Van Gogh conveyed his optimism and enthusiasm by painting flowers. About the time that Van Gogh painted this work, he wrote to his mother, "But for one's health, as you say, it is very necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing." To his sister Wil he wrote, "The last days in Saint-Rémy I worked like a madman. Great bouquets of flowers, violet-colored irises, great bouquets of roses."

While it is not believed that Van Gogh has a specific association for roses, the National Gallery of Art (NGA) asserts, "it is clear, though, that he saw all blossoming plants as celebrations of birth and renewal—as full of life. That sense is underscored here by the fresh green of the background, which has the delicate color of new leaves in spring." NGA further describes the painting, "The undulating ribbons of paint, applied in diagonal strokes, animate the canvas and play off the furled forms of flowers and leaves. Originally, the roses were pink—the color has faded—and would have created a contrast of complementary colors with the green."

The painting is one of several Van Gogh examples of overabundance in still life, filling the picture plane with the vase and overflowing flowers. Other examples are Still Life with Carnations and Still Life with Anemones. The exuberant bouquet of roses is said to be one of Van Gogh's largest, most beautiful still life paintings. Van Gogh made another painting of roses in Saint-Rémy, which is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

When Van Gogh left Saint-Rémy on May 16 both rose paintings with very thick paint were left behind to dry. Van Gogh anticipated that it would take one month for the paintings to dry; they arrived in Van Gogh's last residence in Auvers-sur-Oise by June 24.

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