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Irises was painted during the first week when Van Gogh arrived in the asylum in Saint-Rémy in 1889.

This painting is a study from life of a corner of the asylum garden. Van Gogh discussed the painting in his letters in terms of its "close proximity to nature."

Irises illustrates a recurring theme in Van Gogh's art, that of observing reality and describing it in detail.

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As in all Vincent van Gogh's paintings, symbolism is important. One lone white iris rises among all the profusion of purple blooms. It is easy to see the symbol of the lonely painter in the single bloom.

The background of marigolds glows gently and provides the complementary color to the violet of the irises. The iris leaves are an emphatic turquoise and are almost completely outlined, as if drawn. The paint is brushed on more smoothly in the warm soil and has a complementary color relationship with the iris leaves.

In 1987, Van Gogh's painting, Irises sold at auction for $53,900,000.

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