The Columbus Museum of Art pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries in a spectacular, thought-provoking and must-see exhibition.
“Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources” celebrates the tortured post-impressionist with 17 of his signature works, mixed with more than 100 paintings, prints and sculptures by artists who influenced and were admired by van Gogh.
The beautifully installed exhibition places van Gogh’s works on a deep blue background, surrounded by white walls of meaningful works created by Van Gogh’s contemporaries.
So it is possible to take a 15-minute “Louvre” tour to find and inspect only the Van Gogh works. But the viewers would do themselves a great disservice to go this way; throughout the exhibition there are artistic gems of people like Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few.
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In addition, the panels that accompany all the works provide relevant and entertaining information.
There are numerous quotes from van Gogh himself, mainly taken from his correspondence with his brother and follower, Theo, which tells what the artist thought of his fellow painters and how they influenced his work.
For example, when you walk into the exhibit, one of the first paintings that catches your eye is van Gogh’s “Roses (1890), a beautiful oil owned by Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art. Originally painted pink, the roses faded, so those in today’s painting are white.Hanged on one side of “Roses” is Henri Fantin-Latour’s “Summer Chrysanthemum” (1887) and on the other side Manet’s “Peonies” (1864-65) The panel contains the following quote from van Gogh:
“Do you remember that one day at Hotel Drouot we saw a quite extraordinary Jellyfish, some large pink peonies and their green leaves on a light background? So much in harmony and just as much a flower as something you like, and yet painted in solid, thick impasto…. That’s what I would call the simplicity of the technique. ”
This kind of placement of works and information provides a great viewing experience – enjoying van Gogh’s and his peers’ artistry in a context-rich presentation.
Of course, there are eye-catching Van Gogh works – not the iconic “Sunflowers” or “Starry Night;” these are not part of this exhibition – but wonderful still lifes, landscapes and portraits, including “Houses at Auvers” and “Les Vessenots in Auvers” (both 1890), “Tarascon Stagecoach” (1888), “Undergrowth with Two Figures” ( 1890), lithograph “Potato Eaters” (1885) and “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” (1890), van Gogh’s only etching that captures the doctor who took care of him in the last years of his life.
Van Gogh’s love and appreciation of Japanese art – he collected wooden block prints – is reflected in the inclusion of beautiful works by Ando Hiroshige (“Sudden”)
Evening Shower at Ohashi Bridge ”from 1857) and Katsushika Hokusai (“ Great Wave off Kanagwa ”from 1823-31).
The exhibition is organized in categories such as “Life in Paris”, “Portraits”,
“Impressionism and After”, “Rustic Life and the Working Class”, “Landscapes” and “Religion.”
The exhibition occupies the first floor of the museum’s Walter Wing, and the exhibition can be crossed as one pleases, but exhibition co-curator David Stark suggests that you turn left when you enter and first discover some of van Gogh’s earliest works.
In the more southern part of the wing, the museum has placed early editions of books that van Gogh read (in their original language because he was multilingual), including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cottage,” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven and Other Poems.” “and a number of Charles Dickens’ novels, including” Oliver Twist “and” A Tale of Two Cities. “A great admirer of Dickens, van Gogh wrote,” I want to paint what Dickens has done with words. “
That the exhibition has received loans from prominent museums throughout the United States and the world is reflected in the van Gogh works and the numerous gems from his contemporaries. Not to be missed are Jean-Francois Millet’s “The Sower” (after 1852), Gauguin’s “Christmas Night” (1902-03) and Jean-Francois Raffaelli’s “The Absinthe Drinkers” (1881).
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Along with Stark, co-curator of the exhibition Columbus was native Steven Naifeh, author of the new “Van Gogh and the Artists He Loved” and co-author with her late husband Greg White Smith of the biography “Van Gogh: The Life.” The exhibition was organized by the museum along with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where it will travel after closing in Columbus.
“Through Vincent’s Eyes” captures van Gogh’s remarkable production during his very short 10 years of producing art and has put his work in the context of his peers and of the time. Viewers enjoy this abundant, intelligently presented collection of art.
At first glance
“Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources” continues through Feb. 6 at the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:00 Tuesdays to Sundays, until 21:00 Thursdays. Timed tickets cost $ 10 plus the regular admission of $ 18, or $ 9 for seniors, students and ages 4 to 17; free for members and children 3 years and under. Masks required. There is a discount on admission on Thursday evening and Sunday. Parking costs $ 5. Go to www.columbusmuseum.org.