Van Gogh believed that “the whole future of modern art is to be found in the south”, so in 1888 he moved to Provence to provoke on his canvases extreme effects of light and colour that would force a new painterly expressiveness.
But he would not have had the knowledge to do so without spending time in Paris first. That story is the subject of this rare, historic exhibition: exploring Van Gogh’s development from 1886 to 1888, it sets eight paintings and drawings made in the French capital alongside works by artists he encountered there.
Eykyn Maclean presents Van Gogh in Paris, a landmark exhibition exploring the years 1886 to 1888 when the artist was living and working in Paris. With a career that spanned no more than ten years in total before his premature death in 1890, Van Gogh’s two years in Paris were critical in his transition away from the dark, sombre works of his Dutch period toward the bright colours and expressive handling for which he is best known today. At the centre of the exhibition are Van Gogh’s paintings, many of them from private collections and rarely shown publicly. Surrounding these is a carefully researched selection of works that Van Gogh would have actually seen during his time in Paris by the artists with whom he associated during these years – including Monet, Pissarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Gauguin. Seeing the work of his contemporaries and absorbing the radical new techniques they were developing enabled Van Gogh to create his own unique style.