15 Mar: The Woman Who Made van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh’s genius was finally recognised 11 years after his death, when, on March 15th, 1901, the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris debuted his first major exhibition. Without the persistence of his sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, it could probably not have happened.

Gogh-Bonger had tirelessly promoted Vincent’s work after inheriting it when her husband Theo – Vincent’s brother and benefactor – suddenly died. And there was a lot to contend with: Vincent had painted around 900 works in the decade leading up to his suicide.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how Vincent’s use of visible brushstrokes and vibrant colours challenged the conventions of traditional European art, paving the way for modernism; explain how praise from Monet motivated van Gogh despite his debilitatingly poor mental health; and unpick speculation that Gauguin may have been involved in the infamous ear-cutting incident…

Further Reading: 

‘van Gogh’ (van Gogh Museum, Netherlands): https://vangogh.staedelmuseum.de/en/

• ‘The Woman Who Made Vincent van Gogh’ (The New York Times, 2021): https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/magazine/jo-van-gogh-bonger.html

• Van Gogh’s Art in 7 Minutes: From Iconic Paintings to Immersive Experiences (Curious Muse, 2021):

#Netherlands #Art #1900s