Van Gogh opens at the Tate Britain

Starry Night 1888

The EY Exhibition: Van Gogh and Britain

The Van Gogh and Britain Exhibition which has opened at London’s Tate Britain brings together the largest group of the artist’s paintings to be shown in the UK for nearly a decade. It is the first major exhibition to explore the impact of British culture on Van Gogh as well as the legacy of his art in the works of British painters.

Over 50 paintings and drawings include lesser-known works now in private hands. The exhibition reveals Van Gogh’s enthusiasm for British culture and includes paintings by John Constable and John Everett Millais. The Van Gogh we know was developed in London at a time of descent. He was an admirer of graphics, and was influenced by writers such as Dickens and Elliott. For him it was important to work from first hand experience, and has been described as a painter of the people for the people. Van Gogh Shoes became famous for its associations with the artist’s poor, hard working life.

For the first time, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers 1888 is shown alongside the British artwork that it inspired, and which contributed to a renaissance in British flower painting. The painting was given to Britain’s national collection in the 1920’s.

Many of Van Gogh’s paintings were done in the latter part of his life including The Prison Courtyard, the only one he painted of London. Also in the exhibition is the painting The Oise at Auvers which has also been reconstructed in a digital version. Although its colours have faded, the painting has been brought back to life by the Tate’s conservation team who were able to reconstruct it as it was originally. The exhibition concludes with a group of portraits by Francis Bacon based on a Van Gogh self-portrait.

Shoes 1886

The exhibition, sponsored by EY, includes a programme of talks and events. The Tate’s new podcast The Art of Creativity asks questions about the traditional association between mental health and creativity. Listen for free at:

The exhibition runs until 11 Aug 2019.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London  SW1P 4RG.    

T. 020 7887 8888


About Natasha Blair

Travel journalist who enjoys discovering new places in style, where possible, with her dog, a Coton de Tulear, called Poppy. Good food, not necessarily gourmet, is important as is the atmosphere as she also writes about restaurants. Culture is another love, and as she is based in London, she reviews theatre and art exhibitions.
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