Cincinnati Art Museum
October 15–January 8, 2017Centered on Vincent van Gogh’s Undergrowth with Two Figures, the Cincinnati Art Museum’s new exhibition, Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth, will take visitors up close with celebrated woodland landscapes from October 15, 2016–January 8, 2017.
This exhibition—presented only at the Cincinnati Art Museum—brings an important group of artworks on loan from around the world together for the first time.
Exploring the works of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries, the exhibition traces the evolution of the Dutch artist’s love of the natural world, powers of observation and mastery of detail through this special group of landscape paintings spanning his career.
This exhibition is the first to take a close look at Van Gogh’s poetic depictions of the forest floor, known as sous-bois, the French term for “undergrowth.” These odes to nature were a reaction to the increasing industrialization and urbanization of society.
The exhibition allows visitors to compare Van Gogh’s treatment of this theme with examples by those who influenced and inspired him, including Théodore Rousseau, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin. Twenty artworks are borrowed from museum collections in Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Japan and more, and are joined by works from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s own important collection of French paintings and works on paper.
Since the Cincinnati Art Museum’s acquisition of
Undergrowth with Two Figures in 1967, the museum has made this treasure available in major exhibitions around the world. It will travel to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2018.
In Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth, the painter is brought to life for visitors with his own words about the intimate relation between nature and art and the artists he admired, extensively quoted from his voluminous correspondence with his brother Theo. These letters serve as inspiration for the exhibition’s interactive activity, which involves a hands-on letter-writing experience. Another interactive will employ Google technology to allow visitors to explore Undergrowth with Two Figures on a touch screen, revealing the texture and brushstrokes of the painting in greatly enlarged detail.
With this exhibition, the Cincinnati Art Museum is leading the way with original scholarship in one of the few areas of Van Gogh study that remains to be explored.
The accompanying catalogue, also titled Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth, examines Van Gogh’s engagement with the sous-bois subject from various perspectives. Co-published by D Giles Limited, it will be available for sale at the Cincinnati Art Museum and online this fall. Cornelia Homburg, art historian and one of the world’s foremost Van Gogh experts, is among the authors.
To shed further light on Van Gogh’s artistic milieu, the exhibition will also include Unlocking Van Gogh’s World, a rich display of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist prints from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection.
In addition to Van Gogh, Artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Camille Pissarro, James McNeill Whistler and others will be included in this supporting exhibition.