The Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh

The Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh
Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch-born impressionist and post-impressionist artist. In his lifetime Van Gogh painted a lot of paintings. Among these were still lifes depicting flowers. Van Gogh loved nature, and flowers offered him the opportunity to portray nature at its best. He often used ordinary flowers that grew in the countryside near his home as subject matter for many of his flower oil paintings.

Some of this floral art is considered among his most famous masterpieces. For example, his sunflower series is perhaps the most famous of all his works. The flowers he chose to paint were put into floral arrangements standing in vases and flowers laying down on the ground. He also loved to paint flowers in their natural habitat, the countryside, and gardens. From van Gogh’s depiction of sunflowers, irises, roses, poppies, cornflowers, myositis, and chrysanthemums, he brought life and emotion to his work, putting his unique perspective on it.

Today Van Gogh is loved for his passion which is indicative of his work. His sunflower painting is one of the most loved of his flower oil paintings. Other favorite flower paintings by van Gogh are of irises.

Flower Paintings by Vincent van Gogh

Some of his most loved flower paintings  include:

sun flower paintings by van GoghSunflowers, 1888, oil on canvas
One in a series of sunflower oil paintings by Vincent van Gogh. The series show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colors possible.

iris by Vincent van gogh Irises, 1889, oil on canvas
This is one of many paintings of irises. Irises were painted while Van Gogh was living at the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. Each one of Van Gogh’s irises is unique. He carefully studied their movements and shapes to create various curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. The cropped composition, divided into broad areas of vivid color with monumental irises overflowing its borders, was probably influenced by the decorative patterning of Japanese woodblock prints.

almond blossom flower paintingAlmond Blossom, 1890, oil on canvas
This painting of delicate almond blossoms against a clear blue sky is from a group of several paintings of blossoming almond trees. Van Gogh painted this to celebrate the birth of his nephew and namesake, the son of his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo. He chose the branches of an almond tree – a variety that blossoms as early as February in the south of France, where it announces the coming spring. The subject, the bold outlines, and the positioning of the tree in the picture plane are borrowed from Japanese printmaking.

still life with red poppies and daisiesStill Life: Red Poppies and Daisies, 1889, oil on canvas
Between the years 1886 and 1890, Vincent van Gogh completed seven different paintings featuring poppy flowers. Van Gogh did not have money to pay models, so still-life painting became more practical.

vase with pink roses van goghStill Life: Vase with Pink Roses, 1890, oil on canvas
Van Gogh painted this particular painting 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. The painting reflects the optimism Van Gogh felt about his future, both in his choice of flowers as a subject and the colors used.

Visit the Vincent van Gogh Museum to learn more about other works of art by this artist.

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UPDATED: 10 March 2023

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