Thursday, June 22, 2017

Van Gogh’s Seasons

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A wheatfield, with cypresses (1889  Saint-Remy)

On Monday this week, I finally got around to visiting the National Gallery of Victoria Winter Masterpieces Exhibition, which this year featured Vincent van Gogh, the tragic Dutch artist.

The exhibition was divided into the four seasons.

After a brief introduction to Van Gogh’s early work you moved into a section reflecting Van Gogh’s early influences such as lithography. It included a feature room of Japanese art, claimed to be the major influence and inspiration for his work. Van Gogh collected numerous lithographs and had a large collection of Japanese prints.

Photography was permitted, so I snapped quite few photos – they ended up being of better quality than the postcards in the NGV store.

The first season you pass through is Autumn , where a series of dark and gloomy paintings were displayed.

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Autumn landscape at dusk - October–November 1885 Nuenen

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Pine trees at sunset - December 1889 Saint‑Rémy

This particular area covered Van Gogh’s incarceration in the Saint-Remy Asylum, where he painted several scenes of the garden.

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Asylum Garden

From Autumn we moved on to Winter

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Landscape with a church - December 1883 Nuenen

Then on to Spring and some lovely flower still lifes.

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Roses and peonies - June 1886 Paris

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Blossoming chestnut trees - 22–23 May 1890 Auvers‑sur‑Oise

Summer was the final section and the paintings were of sunny subjects, wheatfields and such.

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It was not an extensive exhibition and truth to tell I was disappointed with what was displayed. Very few iconic paintings were part of the exhibition and there appeared to be a lot of padding out of material that was relevant, but not all that eye catching.

The crowds were out in force and we were obliged to queue for at least twenty minutes before gaining admission to the exhibition.

The final painting was appropriately a self portrait…

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Self-portrait - autumn 1887 Paris

Despite being underwhelmed by the offerings, the exhibition was none the less enlightening and eye pleasing and I’m glad I took the effort to see it.

After all it was awe inspiring to see Van Gogh’s paintings up close.

1 comment:

Whispering Gums said...

I would love to have seen this Anne - even given your disappointment. I heard someone else say something similar. However, I guess I wouldn't have expected something different from the review/interview with the curator I heard a couple of months ago.

I like the idea of organising it by seasons and ending up with warm, bright summer.