Van Gogh in Paris : a Dialogue with Modernism
Van Gogh in Paris : a Dialogue with Modernism
  • Yoon Han Eunjung
  • 승인 2012.12.05 19:18
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“I decided not to be discouraged and sentimental neglecting works alone.  Eating strawberries in spring is part of life, but that lasts only a few days, and most of the months are grey and gloomy.  But in that gloom one can learn something new,” wrote Vincent van Gogh on December 21st, 1881 in a letter to Theo van Gogh (his younger brother).

Van Gogh was born in Zundert, the Netherlands in 1853, and in 1890 he finished his life by committing suicide at the age of 37 in his small room in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris.  He was the typical example of an unfortunate genius who dedicated himself to art.  During his working period as an artist for 10 years, he practiced his love for humanity and he lived the most miserable life of all artists in his time.  He tried to express every single
detail of indescribable spiritual life staking his all on art.

Although he produced 900 artworks in his short and passionate life as an artist, his work was not appreciated, and only one painting was sold during his life time.  This proved that he struggled to make a living in poverty and alienation.  Hoping to find sunlight, he moved to southern France.  In
Paris, with his mental anguish and search for a way to redeem his soul, he created vivid and brilliant artworks including his master works.

Before Paris, Gogh’s paintings were difficult to draw popularity frompublic.  They are so dark and gloomy that his younger brother had used to criticize his works.  So, as soon as he arrived in Paris, he dedicated himself to study color drawing still life with flowers.

Do you know that he never had been educated with regular art course?  So, in early days when he first started paintings, he was not aware of how to combine colors and even draw still-life.  He just drew what he feels or wants to say without any formality.  We have known him as a genius, so someone might think that he never went through hardship of working art, but just drawing on instinct.  However, he was a person who underwent all sorts of hardship and whose soul was filled with anguish to develop his painting skill.  He used one canvas over and over because of poverty.  Also, he never stops reproaching himself about drawing skill even until the day before death.  He is not a prodigy who appears all of a sudden, but a man who struggled desperately to be better painter.  His technique was the fruit of his continued effort.  In short, his whole lifetime was filled with effort and aguish to paint better work.



Who is This?

When we think Gogh, what first comes to your mind?  It is maybe his self-portrait.  Interestingly, when his first self portrait was born is in Paris not in netherland, his homeland.  He shut himself of outside and drawn self-portrait all day in Paris.

“What I want to do most is to draw good self-portrait.”

Here is interesting fact that each self-portrait works have different eye color.  (Actually, Gogh has blue eye.) He only wanted to make it harmonized with background color.

During Paris, he advanced dazzlingly as painter.  Before Paris, he was somewhat weird and insufficient painter, but after two years in Paris his technique became more decorative and sincere, also he succeeded inmixing color gorgeously.  He could draw exactly what he wants to express. He was really proud of his brilliant development as painter and wrote lots of letters about this news to his younger brother Theo.

After Paris, he entered mental hospital by his own decision and left us leaving a sentence “Life living itself is pain” July 29, 1890

In the Seoul Arts Center, the exhibition, which has the purpose of an indepth academic and educational study of his art, is a theme-based one focusing on his time in Paris (Mar.  1886 – Feb.  1888).  Van Gogh, in Paris, laid the most important and artistic groundwork for his artwork.  About 60 oil paintings mainly from the Van Gogh museum of Amsterdam will be exhibited.

“I cannot change the fact that my paintings don’t sell.  But the time will come when people will recognize value of my paints."




Van Gogh in Paris : A Dialogue with Modernism

Dates November 8, 2012 (Thu) – March 24, 2013 (Sun)
Venue Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul Arts Center
Admission Adults (19-64) : 15,000 won
Students (13-18) : 10,000 won

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