Ok there are red, yellow and blue as primary colors. The opposites are complementary: red + green, yellow + purple and blue + orange.

But why would Van Gogh think his blue irises against a yellow background are complementary? The irises would have to be purple to be 'an effect of terribly disparate complementaries’. And they were! The red paint Van Gogh used wasn’t very stable so the purple irises turned blue over time.

Today 132 years ago, on 11 May 1890,

Vincent van Gogh wrote to Theo from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence:

"On the contrary, the other violet bouquet (ranging up to pure carmine and Prussian blue) standing out against a striking lemon yellow background with other yellow tones in the vase and the base on which it rests is an effect of terribly disparate complementaries that reinforce each other by their opposition.”

Irises in a vase (against a yellow background)
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, 1890
Oil on canvas
92 x 74 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

You may also like to read:
How were Van Gogh’s colors in the Irises complementary?Van Gogh's 'Irises in a vase (against a yellow background)'

Your daily dose of Van Gogh.

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      11-05-2022 11:29     Comments ( 0 )
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