Ethereal landscapes in London


Vincent Van Gogh’s Autumn Landscape Nuenen October 1885
Vincent Van Gogh’s Autumn Landscape Nuenen October 1885

PAINTINGS BY DUTCH MASTER VAN GOGH AND SWISS FELIX VALLOTTON TAKE CENTRE CAPITAL ATTRACTION by AMIT ROY SINCE I have a thing about landscapes, I have enjoyed those by Vincent Van Gogh at Tate Britain; and the Swiss artist Felix Vallotton – I hadn’t heard of him before – at the Royal Academy. We tend to associate Van Gogh with sunflowers – indeed, one of his signature sunflower paintings has pride of place and ends the exhibition – and with his self-portraits, but his landscapes are just as remarkable. Visitors can lose themselves in his depictions of, say, a horse chestnut tree in blossom, a farm and a wheatfield, a path through the woods, a starry night, an autumn landscape, and an avenue of poplars in autumn. Much the same can be said of the landscapes by Vallotton (1865-1925) – for example, Last Rays (1911) and Sandbanks on the Loire (1923). The curators emphasise Van Gogh’s connections with Britain, which is why the exhibition is called Van Gogh and Britain. The Dutch post-impressionist painter spent three years in England between May 1873 and December 1876 and though he did not start painting then, it seems he visited lots of galleries and was inspired by everything he saw around him. Later, he influenced British artists and was, in turn, shaped by them. Vincent Van Gogh There are 50 works by Van Gogh (1853-1890), hung alongside paintings by other artists so that comparisons are easily made. Tate Britain points out that Van Gogh “spent several crucial years in London, writing to his brother Theo, ‘I love London’. “Arriving as a young trainee art dealer, the vast modern city prompted him to explore new avenues of life, art and love. The exhibition reveals Van Gogh’s enthusiasm for British culture during his stay and…

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