‘Van Gogh and Britain’ — The EY Exhibition
Van Gogh at the Tate, Summer 2019
On our recent trip to London, we snuck away on a Thursday afternoon to Tate Britain for its new summer feature exhibition — Van Gogh and Britain.
Running until Aug. 11, this show features more than 50 of his works, with a focus on pieces he produced during his residence in London (1873–75) and how the city and its people influenced his later, better-known works. For more on Van Gogh’s time in London, read this great article by Florence Waters from 2013 in The Telegraph.
The show includes six of his famous pieces: Shoes, Starry Night on the Rhône, L’Arlésienne, At Eternity’s Gate, Prisoners Exercising, and Sunflowers.
Visiting the exhibit we had no expectation that this would turn into a feast for bibliophiles as well. Immediately upon entry, you are presented with a glass-enclosed shelf of books representing those attributed to Van Gogh’s personal library and reading list over the years (identified through letters to friends and family).
“Reading books is like looking at paintings…one must find beautiful that which is beautiful” -Vincent Van Gogh
To our pleasant surprise, there were numerous books featured throughout the exhibit. Perhaps seeing a few peaks here will encourage your own visit. We will refrain from commenting on the paintings — for that you should visit yourself. Following are photos and short descriptions of the wonderful books displayed throughout the exhibit. Go forth and enjoy!
Below is Vincent’s signature from the Dulwich Picture Gallery visitor book (fifth name down in the third column, within the green circle). The gallery still operates today and is located in a building by Sir John Sloane, housing works from the 17th and 18th centuries. Vincent visited in August of 1873.
The additional works below appear throughout this wonderful exhibit, showcasing books that either contain engraving of paintings from artists said to influence Vincent or works about Vincent’s life. We will leave these for your eyes to enjoy and encourage you to visit!