EOS: Van Gogh & Japan

CatStrand, New Galloway, DG7 3RN
Tue 18th June 2019
The intensity of his fragile mind as he struggles with his art is laid bare with every
mark he makes. It is the pursuit of a powerful simplicity that attracted Vincent van
Gogh to the art of Japan, and the Japanese to his story.
(David Bickerstaff, Director)

“I envy the Japanese” Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. In the exhibition on which this
film is based - VAN GOGH & JAPAN at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam - one can
see why. Though Vincent van Gogh never visited Japan it is the country that had the
most profound influence on him and his art. One cannot understand Van Gogh without
understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th century and
the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh.
Visiting the new galleries of Japanese art in Paris and then creating his own image of
Japan – through in-depth research, print collecting and detailed discussions with other
artists – Van Gogh’s encounter with Japanese artworks gave his work a new and exciting
direction. After leaving Paris for the south of France – to what he thought of as near to
a kind of Japan as he could find - the productive and yet troubled years that followed
must all be seen in the context of Van Gogh bending Japanese influences to his will and
defining himself as a modern artist with clear Asian precursors. In this little known story
of Van Gogh’s art we see just how important his study of Japan was. The film travels not
only to France and the Netherlands but also to Japan to further explore the remarkable
heritage that so affected Van Gogh and made him the artist we know of toda
Google map static shot of CatStrand, New Galloway, DG7 3RN
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