Vase with Pink Roses was made in 1890 by Vincent van Gogh in Saint-Rémy. At the time the work was painted Van Gogh was readying himself to leave the Saint-Rémy asylum for the quiet town of Auvers-sur-Oise outside of Paris.
The painting reflects the optimism Van Gogh felt at that time about his future, both in his choice of flowers as a subject and the colors used.
Sunflowers, irises and blazing cherry blossom: Vincent Van Gogh is more famous for these blooms, in all their painted variations. Even just to choose one of the sunflower pictures would have been hard enough. Here, instead, is a flower that lacks the brilliant colour he relished and which has such symbolic meaning (its pinks have faded to white) but which is just as stupendous: pale roses, incandescent against a light green wall. The flowers are in glorious, exuberant bloom, their furled forms animated by the ribbons of paint behind them. The surface feels still live with the artist's touch
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. About the time that Van Gogh painted this work, he wrote to his mother, "But for one's health, as you say, it is very necessary to work in the garden and see the flowers growing." To his sister Wil he wrote, "The last days in Saint-Rémy I worked like a madman. Great bouquets of flowers, violet-colored irises, great bouquets of roses."