Vincent van Gogh is a pivotal figure in the art of the 20th century. His oeuvre continues to influence artists and exert an unprecedented magnetism upon the public right up to the present. It was in Arles that Van Gogh produced – within the space of just 15 months between February 1988 and May 1888 – his finest masterpieces.
Inaugurated in April 2014, the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles pays due homage to the work of Van Gogh while at the same time exploring his impact upon art today. This relationship with contemporary art was enshrined within the principles of the Fondation right from its conception.
Niko Pirosmani – Wanderer between Worlds
This exhibition brings together almost thirty paintings by the Georgian artist (1862–1918) presenting a real and fantastical panorama, suffused with great calm, of an epoch in the midst of transition. Pirosmani’s imposing figures and motifs, with their powerful graphic quality, are wide-ranging: a train steaming through the countryside at night, a woman with a mug of beer, a monumental boar and, sometimes, animals such as a giraffe or lion from imagined lands. Rarely dated, his paintings on wax cloth are largely composed in black and white, enlivened by the presence of blue or white.
Self-taught, a wanderer, meandering between town and country, Pirosmani embodies the popular modern vision of the clear-sighted artist on the margin of society. Far from the symbolic intermediate spaces of galleries, artists’ groups and museums, Pirosmani forged an œuvre imbued with modesty in the taverns and stables of Tbilisi and its surroundings, painting to order or offering his art in exchange for food. He distanced himself from the image of the naive painter immured in his solitude and – like Van Gogh – built up a body of work that seems to belong to everyone.
Vincent van Gogh: Speed & Aplomb
Produced between 1884 (the Dutch period) and 1889 (the Provençal period), those six canvases by Vincent van Gogh convey a sense of speed and attest to a humble look at the people and the things surrounding the Dutch artist.