Van Gogh lived in Arles for half a year after his first breakdown, which resulted from an argument with Gauguin in December 1888, and then entered the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Rémy on May 9, 1889. This painting of roses was thought to be a work from the final days of his stay in Arles prior to his move to Saint-Rémy, but the revised view that the painting depicts one corner of the Saint-Rémy hospital grounds was expressed during the 1985 van Gogh exhibition held at the NMWA. Given that the doctors at the hospital restricted his activities and painting range to the hospital grounds, van Gogh seems to have limited his painting motifs to images from gardens during May of that year. “Since I've been here, there's been enough work for me to do, what with the neglected garden with its tall pines and long, unkempt grass mixed with all sorts of weeds and I haven't even been outside. When I send you the four canvases of the garden I am working on, you will se that, considering my life is spent mostly in the garden, it is not so unhappy.“ (Letter 592, May 22, 1889). Van Gogh's style distanced itself from that of Gauguin, changing from the planar style developed under Gauguin's influence to a gradual return to van Gogh's own native use of rough brush work.