Sunday, June 15, 2014

Celebrating Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Art

Where: National Gallery of Art

When: through September 7, 2014

There are some new Van Gogh paintings at the National Gallery, and the museum has highlighted their collection of Van Goghs to celebrate.  One of the paintings, in fact, the one pictured here, is on loan from a museum in the Netherlands; the other two are permanent additions to the collection, from the Mellon family.

Portrait of Monsieur Roulin is a fine example of Van Gogh's signature brushstrokes; they appear to particular advantage in Roulin's magnificent beard.  Roulin was Van Gogh's best friend during his time in Arles; he painted several paintings of the Roulins, including the painting here of M. Roulin and another, exhibited a few feet away, of one of his children.  So, it's not just a celebration of Van Gogh's art, but a sort of family reunion as well.

The room where these are displayed contains some Degas and Gaugin paintings as well; a couple of which were familiar to me from the Gaugin show a while ago.  Happily, no one seemed likely to throw themselves at any of the works (as happened during the big Gaugin display).  It occurs to me that you could add this on to a visit to the Degas/Cassatt show, and get your fill of Degas in one trip.

Verdict: If you like Van Gogh, make time to see this visiting painting, as well as the rest of the Van Gogh collection, now the richer by two paintings.

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