Sponsored by BNY Mellon, this is the major exhibition in London about Van Gogh in the last 40 years.
Taking place at the Royal Academy of Arts (Piccadilly, London) from January 23rd through April 18th, 2010, the exibition offers a comprehensive insight about the artist through his art and writing.
Visitors have the opportunity to read over 35 original letters, some of them with sketches and representations of the 30 drawings and around 65 paintings that are also on display.
Major lenders include the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), with 12 paintings and most of the letters, the Kröller-Müller Museum (Otterlo), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (N.Y.), The J. Paul Getty Museum (L.A) and The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston).
Other museums and private collections worldwide also contributed to this major exhibition.
An eloquent writer, Van Gogh wrote most of his letters to his brother Theo, an art-dealer who aided Vincent throughout his difficult artistic career.
Vincent also exchanged correspondence with his sister Willemina Jacoba ('Willemien') and other artists, namely Anton van Rappard, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, a close friend with whom he painted together.
The Real Van Gogh - The Artist and His Letters exhibition challenges the idea of an erratic geniality and creativity often attributed to the artist.
Some of the highlights include "Self-Portrait as an Artist" (1888), "The Yellow House" (1888), "Van Gogh's Chair" (1888), "Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles" (1888) and "Still Life: with a Plate of Onions" (1889), with some of the paintings and drawings being displayed alongside the letters related to them.
This exhibition is also based upon the new edition "Vincent van Gogh – The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition" (ISBN 9780500238653), published by Thames & Hudson in October 2009, which is the result of 15 years of research by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum.