PRINT March 1987


“Van Gogh in Saint-Rémy and Auvers”

“VAN GOGH IN SAINT-RÉMY and Auvers,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is about the last year and a half of the painter’s life, and is a disappointing show. One goes expecting that van Gogh will continue to be the great formal painter that he is in his work from Arles—from the year before this show begins. (The Met exhibited that work three years ago.) But his work from Saint-Rémy, where he lived in an institution, and Auvers, where he went for the last months of his life—he committed suicide at age 37—is dulled down, without strong feelings. You walk away with a sense that the work is mostly about shades of green, with a lot of gray and tan, and that the pictures as a whole are without light. If you have never seen a large group of van Goghs, you may be absorbed and impressed; he is one of the purest, most forceful artists in the history of art. This is brilliant work, in its

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