Vincent van Gogh pained Irises in 1889, during his first month in the asylum in Saint-Rémy. Under the care of a sympathetic staff, Vincent's fears abated. His doctors recognized his need to work, and by the end of May, Vincent found it necessary to ask his brother Theo to send him more canvas and paint. He painted the irises that grew on the hospital grounds, and he assured Theo, "When you receive the canvases I have done in the garden, you will see I am not too melancholy here."
Despite Vincent's assurances to his brother, a self-portrait he completed at this time indicates he was suffering more than he indicated. On the next page, view this self-portrait.