Van Gogh’s Van Goghs

Just 11 decades ago, in 1888, the townsfolk of Arles in southern France were getting used to the lone Dutch artist who had come there in February to live and paint. In the spring, they watched him carry his painting equipment out to the blossoming orchards, tying the legs of his easel to pegs driven into the ground so he could continue to work in the viciously blowing mistral. Some knew that Vincent van Gogh, this intense young man, received money from his brother Theo, and in return sent Theo his paintings and long letters written in the evenings.

Kept together by Theo van Gogh's heirs, 70 of those paintings, now in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, will be coming to the United States in a new exhibition opening at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. (October 4, 1998 - January 3, 1999) and traveling to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (January 17 - April 4, 1999).

Contributing editor Constance Bond visits the new exhibition — "a stunning survey of the artist's short lifetime of painting" — and describes the pivotal nature of Van Gogh's time in Arles.

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