Van Gogh and Britain- at the Tate Britain, Spring 2019.

At first glance this exhibition - any old excuse to get a whole group of Van Gogh’s together in London- seemed an excuse to claim a bit of Van Gogh for the Brits. The fact that Van Gogh could speak and read English and had lived in London his twenties , and read Dickens, seemed enough to claim an influence on his formative years, as well as the more evidenced claim of his influence on British painters. There was a lot of rather mediocre British art in amongst the Van Gogh’s, which shone out, and with the exception of Vanessa Bell and Francis Bacon, made late nineteenth/early twentieth century British art look muddy and insipid. At one point there was a room full of sunflowers, of which Van Gogh’s shone out amongst a sea of watery yellow flowers. Perhaps the exhibition was relying to show he was the best artist of his generation? It was not until I got to Francis Bacon’s ‘Van Gogh walking’ that I stopped short and gasped at somebody else’s work. Now: Van Gogh and Francis Bacon on Van Gogh: that would have been a better show….

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Van Gogh’s sunflowers…

the clear winner in a room full!

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Francis Bacon stole the show!

Van Gogh walking…