The major exhibition “Van Gogh à Auvers-sur-Oise. Les derniers mois” at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, previously on show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (until 3 September 2023), is dedicated to the works Vincent van Gogh created in the last two months of his life in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris: a veritable swan song in which the artist, more productive than ever, put his last energy into his art. The exhibition is the result of years of research into this decisive phase in the artist’s life.
Fig. above: Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) Champ de blé sous un ciel orageux, Auvers-sur-Oise, juillet 1890. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation) © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Vincent van Gogh arrived in Auvers-sur-Oise on 20 May 1890, where he died on 29 July after attempting suicide. After the various crises he had suffered in Arles and then in the lunatic asylum of Saint-Rémy, Vincent van Gogh moved to the vicinity of Paris and to his brother Theo, who was by then married and had a son Vincent, to find new creative impetus. Auvers was chosen because Dr Gachet, a doctor who specialised in the treatment of melancholy and was also a friend of the Impressionists, was staying there.
Van Gogh settled in the centre of the village, at the Ravoux inn, and explored all the facets of the new world that was opening up to him, while at the same time struggling with his troubles, even as he became more and more famous among the critics.
No exhibition has yet been devoted to this final stage of his career, although the artist produced 73 paintings and 33 drawings in Auvers, including such famous masterpieces as Le Docteur Paul Gachet, L’église d’Auvers-sur-Oise and Champ de bléaux corbeaux. The exhibition sheds light on this productive period through some fifty paintings and twenty drawings. In particular, it presents a series of eleven paintings in the elongated double-square format, unique in Van Gogh’s oeuvre, and concludes with a foray into the cinematic dimension of the Van Gogh myth.
Esplanade Valéry Giscard d’Estaing