A new exhibit opening September 21st at MoMA explores the masterful colors of van Gogh and his love for painting the colors of the night:
Throughout his career, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) attempted the paradoxical task of representing night by light. His procedure followed the trend set by the Impressionists of "translating" visual light effects with various color combinations. At the same time, this concern was grafted onto Van Gogh's desire to interweave the visual and the metaphorical in order to produce fresh and deeply original works of art. These different artistic concerns found themselves powerfully bound together in Van Gogh's nocturnal and twilight paintings and drawings. This exhibition will present new insight into Van Gogh's depictions of night landscapes, interior scenes, and the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. Representing all periods of the artist's career, the exhibition will comprise over two dozen works of superlative quality—several of which have never been seen together, even though they were very clearly conceived with each other in mind.
From the New York Times:
Van Gogh discovered new colors everywhere, especially at night. Peripatetically, briefly yet fulsomely, this show explores his special relationship with darkness. It provides a view of the tenderness, urgency and brilliance at the core of his art, as well as the openness to nature that set it aflame.
Van Gogh accepted the night as a distorting condition, almost the way later modernists like Marcel Duchamp and Jean Arp would use chance to experiment and to break habits. Unable to see clearly, he painted what he saw, ultimately pitting his colors against one another as if they were antagonists in a visual drama. He egged on their clashes with exaggerated daubs of paint, bringing backgrounds forward and giving each inch of canvas its own sense of life. In Western art before him, only the semi-Western mosaics of Ravenna achieved such complete articulation.
Kroler-Muller Museum, The Neterlands
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Musée d'Orsay, Paris