Exhibit Reveals Van Gogh and Gauguin's Stormy Relationship. (Chicago)

Article excerpt

The sometimes-nurturing, sometimes-turbulent artistic and personal relationship between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin is the subject of a new major exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Entitled "The Studio of the South," the exhibit takes its name from the nine-week period in 1888 during which van Gogh and Gauguin lived and worked together in Arles in the south of France. It features 107 paintings, 19 works on paper and nine sculptural objects.

The exhibit focuses on works created by van Gogh and Gauguin beginning with the time they met in Paris in 1887 through the weeks spent together in Arles and up to van Gogh's death in Auvers in 1890. Also featured are earlier pieces, as well as several works from Gauguin's final years in Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands.

According to exhibit organizers, the nine weeks spent together fulfilled van Gogh's vision for a "Studio of the South"--where a brotherhood of painters would pursue shared beliefs. Working side by side, van Gogh and Gauguin initially expressed a desire and ability to take on and personalize each other's ideas. The motif of the sunflower, a traditional symbol of love and friendship, became emblematic of the studio following van Gogh's gift of "Two Sunflowers" (1887) to Gauguin. The exhibit highlights sunflower pictures by both, including van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and Gauguin's "Still Life with Sunflowers on an Armchair" (1901). …