27 March – 11 August 2019
This exhibition is part of The EY Tate Arts Partnership, with additional support from the Van Gogh Exhibition Supporters Circle and Tate Members
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit tate.org.uk or follow @Tate
Today Tate Britain opens a major exhibition about Vincent van Gogh (1 853-1 890). The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain is the first exhibition to take a new look at the artist through his relationship with Britain. It explores both how Van Gogh was inspired by British art, literature and culture throughout his career and how he in turn inspired British artists, from Vanessa Bell to Francis Bacon.
Bringing together the largest group of Van Gogh paintings shown in the UK for nearly a decade, The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain includes over 50 works by the artist from public and private collections around the world. They include Self-Portrait 1889 from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Arlésienne 1890 from Museu de Arte de Säo Paolo, Starry Night 1888 from the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Shoes from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. The exhibition will also feature late works including two painted by Van Gogh in the Saint-Paul asylum, At Eternity's Gate 1890 from the KröIler-MüIIer Museum, Otterlo and The Prison Courtyard 1890 from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.
Van Gogh spent several crucial years in London between 1873 and 1876, 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 his subsequent artistic career. It shows how he responded to the art he saw, including works by John Constable and John Everett Millais as well as his love of British writers from William Shakespeare to Christina Rossetti. Charles Dickens in particular influenced Van Gogh's style and subject matter throughout his career. The Arlésienne 1890, a portrait he created in the last year of his life in the south of France, features a favourite book by Dickens in the foreground.
The exhibition also explores Van Gogh's passion for British graphic artists and prints. Despite his poverty, he searched out and collected around 2,000 engravings, most from English magazines such as the Illustrated London News. 'My whole life is aimed at making the things from everyday life that Dickens describes and these artists draw' he wrote in his first years as a struggling artist. He returned to these prints in his final months, painting his only image of London, The Prison Courtyard from Gustave Doré's print of Newgate Prison.
Tracing Van Gogh from his obscure years in London to the extraordinary fame he achieved in Britain in the 1950s, the exhibition shows how his uncompromising art and life paved the way for modern British artists like Matthew Smith, Christopher Wood and David Bomberg. It concludes with an important group of portraits by Francis Bacon based on a Van Gogh self-portrait known only from photographs since its destruction during the Second World War. The exhibition provides an opportunity to look afresh at well-known works by Van Gogh, through the eyes of the British artists he so inspired, in a period when he epitomised the idea of the embattled, misunderstood artist, set apart from mainstream society.
The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain is organised by lead curator Carol Jacobi, Curator of British Art 1850-1915, Tate Britain and Chris Stephens, Director of Holburne Museum, Bath with Van Gogh specialist Martin Bailey and Hattie Spires, Assistant Curator Modern British Art, with support from James Finch, Assistant Curator 19th Century British Art, Tate Britain. It is accompanied by a major catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.