Van Gogh's 'Irises' revealed as Mia's third and final birthday masterpiece


We've had Vermeer, we've had Raphael – now the Minneapolis Institute of Art has revealed the third and final masterpiece loaned to the museum to celebrate its 100th birthday.

And it's by arguably the most famous painter in history, Vincent Van Gogh, whose stunning "Irises, Saint-Rémy-de Provence" was unveiled Friday morning on loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the museum says.

The 1890 painting has gone on public display at 10 a.m. for free in Mia's Cargill Gallery, near its entrance at 2400 Third Ave. S. It will be on display until Oct. 4.

It is the third in Mia's "Masterpiece in Focus" series of works from celebrated European painters, the first of which in January was "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" – one of only 34 works by Dutch master Vermeer.

This was followed in May by Raphael's "Madonna of the Pinks," a piece of art valued at $50 million.

The "Irises" loaned to Mia was one of a series completed by Van Gogh in the last year of his life while at an asylum in Saint-Rémy-de Provence in the south of France.

He painted 150 pieces in his year at the asylum, where the Star Tribune reports he was struggling with depression and schizophrenia.

But according to VGGallery.com, his "Irises" paintings were among very few still life pieces he painted during that period.

"Perhaps this was because the surrounding landscape of Saint-Rémy was so inviting – the olive groves and soaring cypresses were far more interesting to Van Gogh who so loved to paint outdoors," the website notes.

Van Gogh would return to his love of still life painting when he moved north to Auvers-sur-Oise to be near his brother Theo, the Star Tribune notes. He completed 70 paintings there before he shot himself in the chest, dying two days later at the age of just 37.

Mia has planned 52 events to mark its 100th birthday.

One notable event was also Van Gogh-inspired, as Mia commissioned crop art in the design of the Dutch painter's beloved "Olive Trees" masterpiece (see picture above) in Eagan.

MPR reports that such has been the interest in the crop art, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has been forced to order a halt on drone flights over the field. The art is designed so it can be seen from planes approaching Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

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