Van Gogh exhibition in Tate Britain

A Van Gogh exhibition about the famous Dutch painter’s time in London is being prepared by Tate Britain. The exhibition opens on the 27th of March 2019.

Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night Over the Rhone

Starry Night Over The Rhône will be exhibited at Tate Britain in 2019

London’s influence on Van Gogh

It’s a little known fact that the famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh lived in England for some years. In those days, he earned a living as an art dealer. He didn’t create any paintings during his time in London, but art-lover Van Gogh paid countless visits to the city’s museums and galleries, attended the Dutch Church at Austin Friars, devoured Charles Dickens’ books and came face to face with the cities poorest. All of this shaped Van Gogh as an artist, as the EY Exhibition Van Gogh and Britain will show.

Van Gogh was hugely inspired by the art he saw in London. During his time in the city Van Gogh collected hundreds of prints of famous art works. Later, when he lived in France, Van Gogh recreated some of these works in his own characteristic painting style.

“Van Gogh used those prints to teach himself composition and lighting. He particularly worked from those prints when he was too ill to leave his room”, said Tate Britain’s Curator Carol Jacobi at the press launch at the Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom in November 2018. A very clear example of Van Gogh basing his work on a print is The Exercise Yard which he later named Prisoners' Round. This is an almost exact copy of a work by Gustave Doré. Tate Britain exhibits both the original Doré and Van Gogh’s painting to show the stark similarities.

Vincent Van Gogh Prisoners Round based on Exercise Yard

Prisoners' Round based on Gustave Doré's The Exercise Yard

Van Gogh’s influence on British painters

The list of painters that were influenced by Van Gogh is endless. Tate’s curators have managed to put together an exhibition of dozens of paintings that demonstrate “how this maverick, passionate painter, a brilliant and tragic genius, influenced British culture”, as Jacobi put it. She mentioned a long list of British painters that have made their own versions of the Sunflowers, or copied Van Gogh’s landscapes and portraits. The Tate exhibition convincingly shows how a portrait by Harold Gilman is influenced by van Gogh’s Woman Rocking a Cradle, how Frank Brangwyn, Jacob Epstein, Vanessa Bell and William Nicholson all made paintings that were clearly inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and how paintings of landscape by Francis Bacon, Roderick O’Conor and Spencer Gore were shaped by the lessons they had learned from the Dutch Master.