Un paysan reposant sur sa houe (1863)
Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty
Gogh: Le Batteur de blé (1889)
Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum
Millet, Van Gogh
the Musée d'Orsay
PARIS, 7 October 1998 - A
fascinating exhibition, Millet / Van Gogh, showing works
from American and European collections opened at the Musée
d'Orsay in Paris on September 14th.
Paintings of Jean-François
Millet(1814-1875) have been hung alongside those of his disciple and
fervent admirer, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), the works of the latter
being assiduous "copies" of the French master.
from reproducing Millet's sober rural scenes, Van Gogh has created
paintings of genius, fore-runners of the Impressionist movement.
Millet's dark browns and sombre greys have been sublimated into works
ablaze with sunlight, awash with iridescent greens, blues and yellows.
"They are not copies," Van Gogh told his brother,
Theo, "but translations into another language".
Inspired by his "Maitre", Vincent Van Gogh re-invented many of
Millet's pictures including The Siesta , The Sower, Crows
in Winter and First Steps during his convalescence in
Saint-Rémy-de Provence in the summer of 1889. Intended as an
exercise, the Dutchman never intended these paintings, amongst the most
beautiful he created, to be put on sale.
Van Gogh first saw
Millet's work at an exhibition at the Hotel Drouot four years earlier,
and likened the experience to "walking on hallowed ground",seeing
only a search for God and Eternity in the French artist's country scenes
and landscapes. He never knew that Jean-François Millet ate
abundantly, had wealthy friends, or that his paintings sold.
When the tortured Dutchman moved to Auvers-sur-Oise barely a year later,
the influence of Millet, the artist he believed had struggled all his
life to get closer to God was eclipsed, and nothing could prevent the
final tragedy. He attempted to commit suicide on July 27th,1890, and
died from his injuries two days later.
d'Orsay 1, Rue de la Légion d'Honneur 75007 Paris
/ Van Gogh " 14 September 1998 - 3 January 1999
courtesy of Musée d'Orsay
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