Exhibition On Screen
VAN GOGH AND JAPAN
Based on the exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
“All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art.” – Vincent van Gogh
“I envy the Japanese” Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. In the exhibition on which this film is based, one can see why. Though Vincent Van Gogh never visited Japan it is the country that had the most profound influence on him and his art.
One cannot understand Van Gogh without understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th Century and the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh. Visiting the new galleries of Japanese art in Paris and then creating his own image of Japan – through in-depth research, print collecting and detailed discussions with other artists – Van Gogh’s encounter with Japanese artworks gave his work a new and exciting direction. After leaving Paris for the south of France – to what he thought of as near to a kind of Japan as he could find – the productive and yet troubled years that followed must all be seen in the context of Van Gogh bending Japanese influences to his will and defining himself as a modern artist with clear Asian precursors.
In this little known story of Van Gogh’s art you will discover just how important his study of Japan was. The film travels not only to France and the Netherlands but also to Japan to further explore the remarkable heritage that so affected Van Gogh and made him the artist we know of today.
Reviews (On the Exhibition)
“A cultural must-see…” – The Telegraph
E – Exempt from Classification
Dates & Times
General Public Screenings
Sunday 24 November 2019 at 11am
Saturday 30 November 2019 at 2pm
Image Pere Tanguy (Father Tanguy), 1887-88 (oil on canvas), Vincent Van Gogh,(1853-90) / Musee Rodin, Paris, France / Peter Willi / Bridgeman Images
VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853 – 1890) Van Gogh is now one of the most well-known post-Impressionist painters, although he was not widely appreciated in his lifetime. Vincent Van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Zundert in the southern Netherlands, the son of a pastor. In 1869, he took his first job, working in the Hague branch of an international art dealing firm. He began to write to his younger brother Theo, a correspondence which continued for the rest of Van Gogh’s life. Van Gogh’s job took him to London and Paris, but he was not interested in the work and was dismissed in 1876. He briefly became a teacher in England, and then, deeply interested in Christianity, a preacher in a mining community in southern Belgium. In 1880, at the age of 27, he decided to become an artist. He moved around, teaching himself to draw and paint and receiving financial support from Theo. In 1886, Van Gogh joined Theo in Paris, and met many artists including Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro and Gauguin, with whom he became friends. His style changed significantly under the influence of Impressionism, becoming lighter and brighter. He painted a large number of self-portraits in this period. In 1888, Van Gogh moved to Provence in southern France, where he painted his famous series ‘Sunflowers’. He invited Gauguin to join him but they soon began to quarrel and one night, Van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor. Deeply remorseful he then cut off part of his own ear. This was the first serious sign of the mental health problems that were to afflict Van Gogh for the rest of his life. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals and swung between periods of inertia, depression and incredibly concentrated artistic activity, his work reflecting the intense colours and strong light of the countryside around him. On 27 July 1890, again suffering from depression, Van Gogh shot himself. He died two days later.