The Van Gogh & Japan exhibit in Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum throws lights on the influence Japanese arts once had on the Dutch painter renowned world over. Vincent Van Gogh created a perceptive image of Japan by reading and studying about their art forms, and talking about their aesthetics with contemporary artists. Van Gogh also had a habit of copying and collecting Japanese prints, especially Ukiyo-e from art dealers in Paris.
The ‘Van Gogh & Japan,’ has a reproduction of the said Japanese print as painted by Vincent Van Gogh in expressionism style. Japan, as Van Gogh painted through his perceptive eye, was a world full of vivid colors that expressed the ‘Land of the Rising Sun,’ as a form of utopia. Nowhere does this expressionism reflect more than in the reproduction of Ukiyo-e prints, which can be seen when on a private Van Gogh museum tour from March 23 to June 24, 2018.
The exhibition, to be displayed in the top most visited museum in Amsterdam as of last year, compiles forty artworks of Vincent Van Gogh, including two of his published works in foreign journals ‘Snowcape,’ and ‘Tarasukon’s Riding Carriage’. These paintings, alongside ‘Courtesan: (after Eisen)’ show a glimpse of how Japanese arts influenced Van Gogh, the painter renowned for his exceptional use of colors.
The exhibit in Van Gogh museum displays how he bent the indigenous art forms from Japan into a reproduction, as if by will. The Japanese artworks were a source of inspiration for Van Gogh, but also made him position himself as a modernist, especially amongst his French contemporaries cum friends, namely Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. The Japan & Van Gogh exhibit explores his strong belief in Japanese printmaking, its collection, and renewal. In one of the letters Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo van Gogh in 1888, he mentioned, “I envy the Japanese the extreme clarity that everything in their work has.”
Take a private Van Gogh museum tour anytime soon to know more about Japanese prints, and their influence in the artistic vision of ‘Christ of the Coal Mines’. The museum in Amsterdam highly recommends advance booking tickets for ‘Japan & Van Gogh,’ an exhibition that will roll over from the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto this March.