Still Life, Vase of Carnations, 1890

During June 1890 Van Gogh undertook a series of still-life paintings of different flowers in Vases and glasses, returning to a subject that he had addressed throughout his career. He worked on these primarily at Dr Gochet's house, which seems to have been a place of inspiration for Van Gogh who delighted in his collection of art and antiques. He spent a considerable amount of time at the doctor's house, visiting two or three times a week, and painted several portraits of Gachet as well as one of his 19-year-old daughter seated at a piano.

As was typical of Van Gogh he has employed a disquieting perspective in this painting so that the vase appears to tip to the left, which is counterbalanced by the spiky leaf tendril. Situating the Vase close to the edge of the table again creates a sense of displacement that is balanced through the luscious head of blue and white Impressionistic flowers. The picture was pointed swiftly, he was producing almost one a day at this time, and evokes the clarity and pattern of his beloved Japanese prints.