Roses, 1890. Vincent van Gogh. Oil on canvas. The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002.
On the eve of his departure from the asylum in Saint-Rémy in May 1890, Van Gogh painted an exceptional group of four still lifes, to which both the Museum's Roses and Irises belong. These bouquets and their counterparts—an upright composition of irises (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) and a horizontal composition of roses (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)—were conceived as a series or ensemble, on a par with the earlier Sunflower decoration he made in Arles. Traces of pink along the tabletop and rose petals in the present painting, which have faded over time, offer a faint reminder of the formerly more vivid "canvas of pink roses against a yellow-green background in a green vase."