Review Round Up: Van Gogh & Britain, Tate Britain

Tate Britain’s new exhibition explores the connection between Vincent Van Gogh and Britain. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews.

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) Sunflowers,
1888 © The National Gallery, London/ Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1924.

City Am: **** “But there are some clearer connections to be drawn, enough to satisfyingly make the point that Van Gogh and Britain did indeed intersect. The Prison Courtyard, which depicts jailbirds plodding around a yard in a funereal circle, is technically Van Gogh’s only painting of London.”

The Upcoming: ***** “This is an exhibition that is at once scholarly, thought-provoking and celebratory. It pushes back against the idolisation of mythical artistic “genius”, while still allowing Van Gogh’s beautiful paintings to shine in all their glory and pathos. A stunning reassessment of one of the world’s best-loved artists – not to be missed.”

The Guardian: *** “In the end, this exhibition just shows how incredibly un-British this European was.”

The Telegraph: *** “the opening of Tate Britain’s new exhibition Van Gogh and Britain – the gallery’s first Van Gogh show since 1947 – registers such surprise, because it positions the Dutch painter as a bibliophile, fluent in four languages.”

Evening Standard: ***** “yet if this is not a Van Gogh blockbuster — and visitors will not see wall-to-wall Van Gogh but rather 50 Van Goghs mixed with an equal amount of works by other people — so much the better if it provokes thoughtful reflection on what it is that makes up the Van Gogh experience: the kinds of notions we have when we see his work.”

Time Out: *** “There’s nothing wrong with an exhibition about the influence Van Gogh had on artists, but it makes for an interesting show, rather than a brilliant one.”

The Times: ***** “My advice is to dash in as soon as the doors open, head straight for the bench in the third gallery, then plonk yourself down and stargaze.”

i News: “Like all the best curated exhibitions, it helps you to look at the work afresh, featuring as it does masterpieces, such as Sunflowers and Self Portrait (1889), but also the more minor, early works that led to them.”

The Arts Desk: **** “Some of the claims made by this exhibition seem more hopeful than accurate, but the insights are so instructive and thought-provoking that one is inclined to take them in good spirit: for an artist as thoroughly picked over as Van Gogh, this journey through his early years in Britain only reinvigorates the works we thought we knew so well.”

Culture Whisper: *** “Van Gogh’s appeal – and his true genius – lies in his idiosyncratic approach and his daring. Any links drawn to British artists are tenuous. The curators only make a truly convincing case for the influence of British literature on the Dutch artist’s work. And, if visitors are expecting to be plunged into a world of intense, swirling brushstrokes of Prussian blue and bright oranges, they will be disappointed. This show dilutes the brilliant restlessness of Van Gogh’s curling skies and melting trees with too many barely related paintings.”

Van Gogh and Britain is on display at Tate Britain until the 11th August.

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