“I feel that there is nothing truly more artistic than to love people.”
This quote by Vincent Van Gogh has arguably shaped the Columbia Museum of Art's (CMA) inspiration in creating a Van Gogh exhibition. The new exhibit this year, titled Van Gogh and his inspirations, is based off the work of Stephen Naifeh and Greg Smith. Together, these two wrote a book on the many artists in Van Gogh’s time that influenced his artistic career, titled “Van Gogh; The Life.”
Columbia’s own museum of art introduced this original exhibit this month, organized by the CMA and based off of Steven Naifeh's and Greg Smith's research on Van Gogh. In their mentioned book, Smith and Naifeh developed a collection of over 30 works of art thought to have inspired Van Gogh in his career.
Many know Van Gogh as a renowned artist and a disturbed, troubled man. However, rarely anyone gains fame by being a blank slate; Van Gogh had several friends and enemies who continued to shape his artwork and guide his career.
One theme Van Gogh and His Inspirations seeks to bring to life is the concept of the working class and it’s dignity. Anton Mauve, a lifelong friend and cousin by marriage of Van Gogh spent much of his time as an artist focusing on portraying peasants and the working class as dignified and respectful people, rather than making them fools. Mauve was Van Gogh’s first teacher, and one of the most influential. The CMA exhibit features several of Mauve’s works, including On the Dunes.
Van Gogh’s art was about the places he was in. He constantly drew inspiration from his environment, whether it was wheat fields in France, flower beds in Holland, or bustling town life. He was also in love with people.
As I found myself in the middle of his and others masterpieces, I felt myself also in the middle of what he was fascinated by; the working class.
This exhibition will run in the Columbia Museum of Art until January 12, 2020.