The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
When Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) arrived at the hospital in St Rémy
in May 1889, the irises were blooming, and he painted them (JAMA cover,
August 16, 1985). Now, almost exactly a year later, as he was preparing to
leave St Rémy, the irises were blooming again. Again, he painted them,
"two canvases representing big bundles of violet irises, one lot against a
pink background," the other "against a startling citron background," as he
wrote to his brother Theo while he was awaiting discharge. He was also doing
roses, "a canvas of roses with a light green background." A day or two later,
in what would be his last letter to Theo from St Rémy, he describes
"another canvas of pink roses against a yellow-green background in a green
vase," which he had just finished. All in all, he did four flower pieces in
less than a week. He was, he said, working with a "calm and steady enthusiasm."
His last attack of illness had occurred in February and had disappeared "like
Southgate MT. Roses. JAMA. 2000;283(19):2496. doi:10.1001/jama.283.19.2496