This portrait was written by Van Gogh in 1889. Dr. Felix Rey was an intern at the Arles Hospital, where Van Gogh was taken after the attack of the disease. The young doctor showed so much involvement in the painful artist that Van Gogh wanted to thank him by presenting a picturesque portrait.
However, Ray, being indifferent to art by man, considered the gift a tribute of gratitude to the unhappy insane person. The picture was stored for a long time in the attic, and then covered the hole in the henhouse. Only in 1900 the artist Charles Camoin, a friend of Henri Matisse, when he arrived in Arles, discovered a picture in the courtyard of the doctor. In 1908 the picture became part of Shchukin’s collection, and now it is in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
According to contemporaries, the portrait turned out to be very similar. Feeling grateful to the doctor for his sympathy and desire to help, the artist emphasizes his most positive traits: attentive look, intelligent confident person, strong physique. He deliberately simplifies the manner to make the pictorial language more accessible for the perception of the provincial doctor. In a bright, contrasting and sonorous color scheme, Van Gogh admired this man, because the color in the paintings of the artist always had a symbolic value.