Van Gogh Up Close: Take a Mini-Tour of Vincent’s World in 2012 Exhibition

Click the images to enhance the following works of art.

Would you like to take a virtual mini-tour of the Van Gogh Up-Close exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (February 1 to May 6, 2012)?  I had an opportunity to visit it recently and I thought I would offer a couple of its highlights on today’s blog.  You’ll be experiencing Van Gogh’s works of art in a new way with an emphasis on his expressive use of space.  You’ll be entering different sections focused on themes such as Blades of Grass and High Horizons, enjoying views of Van Gogh’s world, from a  tiny corner of a spring garden to sweeping vistas of summer fields.

The time span covered is from 1886 to 1890, starting in Paris, then to the southern French city of Arles, next the mental institution of Saint Remy (where Van Gogh had himself committed after suffering a series of seizures), and ending in the countryside of Auvers in northern France where Vincent died. Excerpts from Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo and other correspondents will enrich your artistic journey.


I have made a series of color studies in painting simply flowers, red poppies, blue corn flowers and myositis. White and rose roses, yellow chrysanthemums—seeking oppositions of blue with orange, red and green, yellow and violet…..Trying to render intense COLOUR and not a grey harmony.* Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh, Roses and Sunflowers

Van Gogh, Roses and Sunflowers, 1886, oil on canvas, Kunsthalle Mannheim


Van Gogh, Vase of Cornflowers and Poppies

Van Gogh, Vase of Cornflowers and Poppies, 1887, oil on canvas, Triton Foundation, The Netherlands



If we study Japanese art, then we see a man undoubtedly wise and a philosopher and intelligent, who spends his time–on what?– studying the distance from the earth to the moon?–no: studying Bismarck’s politics? – no, he studies a single blade of grass.  But this blade of grass leads him to draw all the plants–then the seasons, the broad features of landscapes, finally animals, and the human figure.** Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh, Iris, 1889, oil on cardboard, mounted on canvas, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa



“I myself am quite absorbed in the immense plain with wheat fields against the hills, boundless as a sea, delicate yellow, delicate soft green, the delicate violet of a ploughed and weeded piece of ground, checkered at regular intervals with the green of flowering potato plants, everything under a sky of delicate blue, white, pink, violet tones.*** Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh, View of Arles with Irises in the Foreground, 1888, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh, Wheat Field with Sheaves, 1888, oil on canvas, Honolulu Academy of Arts













Van Gogh, Vineyards with a View of Auvers, 1890, oil on canvas, St. Louis Art Museum

Van Gogh, Wheat Fields

Van Gogh, Wheat Fields after the Rain, 1890, oil on canvas, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh


TREE TRUNKS (Section 4)

“…violet trunks of poplars which cross the landscape perpendicularly like columns.  The depths of the undergrowth are blue, and under the big trunks the flowery meadow, white, pink, yellow, green, long russet grasses and flowers.”**** Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh, Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890, oil on canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio

Van Gogh, Undergrowth, 1887, oil on canvas, Centraal Museum, Utretcht

Van Gogh, The Large Plane Trees (Road Menders of Saint-Remy), 1889, oil on fabric, The Cleveland Museum of Art


STILL LIFE (Section 5)

Van Gogh, Pink Roses, 1890, oil on canvas, Ny Carlsberg Glyptoek, Copenhagen

Van Gogh, Quinces, 1887-88, oil on canvas, Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstammlugen Dresden













Van Gogh, Grapes, Lemons, Pears and Apples, 1887, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago



Van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


WANT TO DISCOVER MORE ABOUT VAN GOGH?   See our following blogs:

Van Gogh and His Neighborhood, 11/28/2010; Van Gogh’s Sunflowers: The Haunting of Gauguin, 4/19/2011; This Day in Art: The Anniversary of Van Gogh’s Death and his Last Works of Art, 7/27/2011.

*Excerpt from letter of Vincent Van Gogh to artist Horace Mann Lievens, September or October, 1886.

**Excerpt from letter of Vincent Van Gogh to Theo Van Gogh, September, 1888.

***Excerpt from letter of Vincent Van Gogh to his mother and sister Wil, July, 1890.

****Excerpt from letter of Vincent Van Gogh to Theo Van Gogh, July 1890.

All of the above images are used solely for educational purposes.




































other blogs

, , , ,