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The Van Gogh Universe

6 artworks from 6 artists across 4 galleries
The tour will begin from the Michigan Avenue entrance, if you enter from the Modern Wing, begin your tour in reverse order.

Discover the sparkling constellation of artists who inspired or were inspired by the beloved artist.


  • The Pine of Success and Onmayagashi, Asakusa River (Asakusagawa shubi no matsu Oumayagashi), from the series One Hundred Views of Edo (Meisho Edo Hyakkei)

    Utagawa Hiroshige

    This print depicts a scene on the Sumida River, also known as the Asakusa River. The sun has set and the stars are already appearing in the clear sky of early evening. To the left is the famous Pine of Success, a tree that symbolized visitors’ desires to get their money’s worth in the nearby pleasure quarters of the Yoshiwara. In the lower left corner of the image, a roofed boat sits with its green blinds lowered, the figure of a woman silhouetted behind them. She must not be alone: two pairs of clogs are just visible in the prow.

    "Artists like Van Gogh, Whistler, Monet, and a host of Impressionist painters were eager collectors of Japanese art."

  • Les Andelys, Côte d'Aval

    Paul Signac

    This harbor view is one of Paul Signac’s first works painted in dots and dashes of contrasting colors. The technique, called pointillism, was originated by Signac’s friend Georges Seurat. Signac would prove to be the most ardent proponent of this style, which he made his own through particular attention to geometric form.

    "Signac and Van Gogh often painted together. Signac once reported: 'We returned to Paris on foot . . . He stuck right by me, shouting, gesticulating, and brandishing his large, size-30 canvas, so that he spread wet paint onto himself and the passersby.'"

  • Final Study for "Bathers at Asnières"

    Georges Seurat

    Georges Seurat made this painting as a preparatory work for his monumental Bathers at Asnières, now in the National Gallery, London. It shows men and boys on the bank of the Seine River in the working-class Parisian suburb of Asnières. The view presented here is just across the river from the leisure park Seurat immortalized in his best-known work, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884.

    "In 1888, Van Gogh visited Seurat’s Parisian studio before leaving for Arles in southern France. Seurat's influence on Van Gogh can be seen in his self-portrait, where Van Gogh transforms the cool objectivity of dots and dabs into an emotional language."

  • Arlésiennes (Mistral)

    Paul Gauguin

    One of 17 canvases that Paul Gauguin completed during a brief and tumultuous visit with Vincent van Gogh in Arles, this powerful and enigmatic painting depicts the public garden directly across from Van Gogh’s house. The painting's large, flat areas of color, arbitrary handling of space, and enigmatic silhouettes exemplify the deliberateness with which Gauguin sought visual harmony and symbolism in his work.

    "Vincent and his brother Theo, an art dealer, had become enthralled with the paintings Gauguin made in Martinique, depictions of local women painted in saturated colors. A similar sense and style can be seen in this composition made in Arles with Van Gogh."

  • Self-Portrait

    Vincent van Gogh

    Van Gogh’s face is as well known as his art—in fact, it is inseparable from it. The artist painted more than 35 self-portraits over his lifetime. This one was created in Paris under the influence of Seurat and pointillism. The intense dabs of paint and color, anchored by his eyes, create a turbulent energy, giving the viewer a deep sense of the artist’s presence.

    "'I prefer painting people’s eyes to cathedrals,' Van Gogh once wrote to Theo. 'However solemn and imposing the latter may be—a human soul, be it that of a poor streetwalker, is more interesting to me.'"

  • Carnival in Arcueil

    Lyonel Feininger

    This painting is set in the town of Arcueil, south of Paris, where Feininger spent several months a year from 1906 to 1912. Feininger's intense interest in architecture is apparent not only in the use of the town's majestic viaduct but also in the brilliantly colored houses. Against this dramatic backdrop, Feininger depicted a motley crew of characters, some of whom recall Feininger's earlier cartoons.

    "Feininger's admiration for Van Gogh is evident in the heavily impastoed surface and the use of highly saturated colors. Also reminiscent of Van Gogh are the animated, billowing contours of the rooftops, which echo the sweeping movement of the clouds."

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