Exhibition Review: Van Gogh and Britain at the Tate Britain
The exhibition traces the impact Britain had on a young Van Gogh as he lived and worked here in his early twenties. Entering the first room, I found Dickens, prints and paintings of London – but none by Van Gogh himself. I was a touch unsure if I was in the right exhibition in all honestly! It took a wander through a few more rooms to recognise why those pieces had been hanging up earlier. However, after a short nip to see some incredible Van Gogh pieces, I almost wanted to return to the originals as the smoggy images of London and the stark Autumnal trees kept reappearing and the links became obvious.
As the exhibition moved on to his brighter pieces with spring and summer palettes, I questioned the role of many of the paintings chosen again. This time, rather than Van Gogh’s influences, it showed his influences on other artists. Whilst I appreciate that his influence was vast, these were not necessarily the best paintings of the artists in question – and, whilst valuable pieces in their own right, they often paled in comparison to the original Van Gogh hanging beside them.
As a Van Gogh fan, I was definitely expecting more Van Gogh originals in an exhibition dedicated to him. That said, it was still an exhibition worth seeing and I’ve seen a few more pieces by Millais (The artist revered with a statue outside the Tate Britain).