Met’s Full Collection of Van Gogh Paintings on View

August 13th, 2014

Installation view of Vincent Van Gogh Collection at the Met, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, Installation View, via Art Observed

While the Metropolitan Museum of Art is well-known for its constantly rotating series of special exhibitions, this summer sees a new focus on the museum’s permanent collection. For the first time in over a decade, the Met has united its collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh under one roof, where they will stay for the next six months. Typically scattered across the globe on loans to various museum, the Met’s seventeen paintings by the artist is the largest such collection in North and South America.

Vincent Van Gogh, Installation View, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, Installation view, via Art Observed.

Vincent Van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1887, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, “Wheat Field with Cypresses” (1889), via Art Observed

The majority of the collection can be found in two rooms in the Met’s 19th century European Art galleries, competing for (and winning) the attention of visitors against neighboring works by artists such as Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Èdouard Manet. One painting, “Madame Roulin and Her Baby” (1888), is separated from the others in the Robert Lehman collection.

Vincent Van Gogh, Madame Roulin and Her Baby, 1888, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, “Madame Roulin and Her Baby” (1888), via Art Observed

Vincent Van Gogh, installation view (2), via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, Installation view, via Art Observed

The collection is impressive not only for its breadth but also for its depth; the seventeen canvases encompass the six busiest years of Van Gogh’s short career and feature landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in the variety of styles, from Pointillism to Neo-Impressionism, that he encountered during his peripatetic life. The museum’s choice to display the collection on two walls in two neighboring rooms allows visitors to examine these canvases and their disparate styles as individual works but also to stand back and regard the paintings as a full collection.

Vincent Van Gogh, La Berceuse, 1889, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, “La Berceuse” (1889), via Art Observed

Vincent Van Gogh, Cypresses, 1889, and Irises, 1890, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, “Cypresses” (1889) and “Irises” (1890)

Vincent Van Gogh, Installation view with Self-Portrait, via Art Observed
Vincent Van Gogh, Installation view with “Self Portrait with a Straw Hat” (1887), via Art Observed

Read More:

“Summer Treats in the Met’s European Galleries” [New York Times]
“A Visit with Vincent”  [The New Yorker]
“Way to Gogh” [The Metropolitan Museum]