‘Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The Final Months’ is the first exhibition to be devoted to the works produced by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) during the last two months of his life, which he spent in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris. Many years of research into the final phase of Van Gogh’s life preceded this historic exhibition, the first to be dedicated to the last stage of his career.
Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise on May 20th 1890, passing away there on July 29th following a suicide attempt. Despite only spending just over two months in Auvers, it was a particularly prolific period for his artistic production, and he created 74 paintings and 33 drawings. Some of his most iconic final works are on display in the exhibition including; ‘Portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet’, ‘Portrait of the Artist’, ‘The Church at Auvers’, and ‘Wheatfield with Crows’. ‘Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The Final Months’ features 40 paintings and around 20 drawings, and highlights the period thematically, beginning with landscapes featuring the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, portraits, still lifes, and ending with landscapes depicting the surrounding countryside. The exhibition also includes a series of paintings in an elongated double-square format, unique in Van Gogh’s body of work.
Van Gogh’s move to Auvers, a small village outside Paris, followed a period in an asylum in Saint-Rémy, was partly due to the presence of his friend and collector – Dr Gachet – a physician specializing in the treatment of melancholia.
The Musée d’Orsay partnered with VIVE Arts on ‘La Palette de Van Gogh’ (‘Van Gogh’s Palette’), a virtual reality experience inspired by the last paint palette used by Van Gogh. The immersive experience enables people to immerse themselves in Van Gogh’s palette and discover his use of perspective, impasto and colour by exploring a virtual landscape populated by his final paintings.
‘Van Gogh’s Palette’ recreates Doctor Gachet’s drawing room in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh’s portrait of his daughter Marguerite is displayed, and the paint palette he used to paint the portrait lies on the table. A beautiful bird appears and acts as a kind of spirit guide, taking visitors through a virtual world inspired by Van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise paintings, whilst an actor narrates Marguerite Gachet’s story and the music of Wagner provides the soundtrack. The bird is a virtual version of Van Gogh’s ‘The Kingfisher’, now in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and Liszt’s transcriptions of Wagner’s operas – van Gogh’s favourite composer – form the basis of the score.
‘Van Gogh’s Palette’ is co-produced by VIVE Arts, Lucid Realities, Tournez S’il Vous Plait and the Musée d’Orsay, and directed by Gordon and Agnès Molia with the voice of Rebecca Marder.
The exhibition is organized by the Public Establishment of the Orsay and Orangerie Museums in Paris, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.