London’s Tate exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain presents the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the UK for nearly a decade and reveals how he was inspired by Britain and how he inspired British artists. Some of his most famous works will be brought together from around the world – including Shoes, Starry Night on the Rhône, L'Arlésienne, and two works he made while a patient at the Saint-Paul Asylum, At Eternity’s Gate and Prisoners Exercising. They will be joined by the very rarely lent Sunflowers from London’s National Gallery.
Van Gogh lived in England as a young man for several crucial years. He walked the streets alone, dreaming of the future. He fell in love with British culture, especially the novels of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. And he was inspired by the art he saw there, including paintings by Constable and Millais which are featured in the exhibition. They affected his paintings throughout his career.
This exhibition is in two parts. The first looks at Van Gogh’s experience in London, the art and literature that caught his attention and its role in his journey as an artist. The second explores the impact of Van Gogh’s art and life on British artists up to the 1950s.
During the Second World War, many of Van Gogh’s artworks were hidden to keep them safe and his work was rarely seen. But after the war, he was celebrated in exhibitions, books and films. This included the last Van Gogh exhibition to take place at Tate, in 1947. The war and its aftermath encouraged the idea of Van Gogh as a tragic and alienated artist whose art expressed the human condition. Some British artists admired this realism and explored the emotional power of his dynamic brushwork and vivid color. Van Gogh and Britain runs now through August 11, 2019.