An unprecedented exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits approaches now in London at The Courtauld Gallery, bringing together for the very first time around half of all Van Gogh’s self- portraits to explore the full range of the artist’s most enduring and personal subject matter.
An outstanding group of 16 self-portraits trace the evolution of Van Gogh’s self-representation, from the early Self-Portrait with a Dark Felt Hat, created in 1886 during a formative time in Paris that saw the radical transformation in Van Gogh’s style, to Self-Portrait with a Palette, painted at the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in September 1889, one of the last self-portraits created before his death in 1890. Some of the works in the exhibition were last together in Van Gogh’s studio and have never been reunited until now. This is the first time the full span of Van Gogh’s self-portraiture has been explored in an exhibition, and it is the largest group to be brought together in more than 25 years. Alongside 16 self-portraits, the exhibition features two major paintings that played an important role in Van Gogh’s fashioning of his own image: Van Gogh’s Chair, described by the artist as a symbolic “self-portrait”, and Portrait of Eugène Boch, a portrait of his friend in which Van Gogh sought to convey his artistic ideals.
The exhibition takes as its springboard Van Gogh’s iconic Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, one of the most celebrated works in the collection of The Courtauld Gallery. It is shown together with masterpieces from major international collections – an exciting opportunity, given that many of these works are rarely lent.
Dr Karen Serres, curator of the exhibition, said: “Van Gogh is an icon of self-portraiture. His self- portraits have come to define him in the public imagination, offering access to his personality and becoming the lens through which we view his genius, passion, resilience, and struggles. This exhibition is the first to explore the full span of Van Gogh’s self-portraiture, which is striking in its variety, offering a unique and fascinating opportunity to observe Van Gogh’s creative and personal development.”
The exhibition is presented in The Courtauld’s new Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries and is the first in The Morgan Stanley Series of high-profile temporary exhibitions at The Courtauld. It features paintings from major international collections, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford CT; the National Museum, Oslo; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the National Gallery, London.
Friends membership is available from just £5.50 a month, or £66 annually, and all active members of the Friends and Patrons programmes enjoy unlimited access to The Courtauld Gallery and its exhibitions throughout the year, discounts in the shop and café and much more.
The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Van Gogh. Self-Portraits 3 February – 8 May 2022 Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (last entry 5.15pm) Weekend tickets from £20, Friends and Under-18s go free The Courtauld Gallery Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 0RN For more information and to book tickets you can click here.