Thursday, 28 November 2013


A pair of shoes, one shoe upside down, 1886

At the flea market, he'd bought an old pair of clumsy, bulky shoes - he put them on one afternoon when it rained and went for a walk along the old city walls. Spotted with mud, they had become interesting.

Sorry, I know it's annoying to write up exhibitions that are on the point of closing. I've been meaning to go to Van Gogh in Paris for weeks and finally made it today. But there's still two days to go, if you'd like to knock on the door of the most discreet little gallery in London ... you need to know where you're going, there's no poster in the window, there's not even a name on the door, because it's only a gallery for two months of the year. (Next door to St George's, Hanover Square.) But don't feel shy, ring the doorbell, sign in (it's free to get in, but for security reasons you need to register online in advance), don't feel intimidated by all those heavy security doors ... 

 I can't tell you how magical it was to find myself in this gem of an exhibition and only three other people there. (It got a bit busier later on.) There's something very touching about Van Gogh's shoe paintings; this one above is from a private collection.


Self-portrait, Dec 1886- Jan 1887
 And this is possibly his first proper self-portrait, on loan from The Hague, and also his first real use of colour. The exhibition focuses on Van Gogh's two years in Paris from February 1886- February 1888 and the influence of his friends and the other artists he met there, during this period when he was forging his distinctive style, and making his transition from sombre Dutch potato eaters to the glorious sunflowers.

The Laundress, Toulouse-Lautrec
 Van Gogh used to visit Toulouse-Lautrec's weekly soirées every Tuesday at Montmartre and would sometimes bring a painting along to show him.


View of Bennecourt, Monet
And he would surely have known this painting by Monet because it was shown in the gallery where his brother Theo was manager.


Avenue de Clichy,  1887, Louis Anquetin (Private collection)
But what fascinated me more than anything was the juxtaposition of this pastel of a street scene outside a Paris theatre ...

With this rather more famous painting by Van Gogh done the following year (which isn't in the exhibition, but never mind).
There's a video of the exhibition here. 
Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888

4 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

How lovley that you were able to see the exhibition and even lovlier that there was a video that you chose to share, thank you Mary.

mary said...

So glad I didn't put it off until today, as there don't seem to be any tickets left now, Toffeeapple. Must have been a last-minute rush.

Ann said...

So glad you reminded me of this. As soon as I saw your post on Thursday evening I went on the website but it was clear all the tickets had gone as it just didn't work! I decided to go along anyway and they let me in without any trouble at all. Wow what a treat! I was so glad I saw it,

mary said...

I'm glad they let you in, Ann. I think there must have been a last-minute rush for tickets as I managed to book online that morning, just before I set out. Wasn't it a treat!