Vincent van Gogh's Cypresses first at The Met
The exhibition will reunite iconic paintings—including Wheat Field with Cypresses and The Starry Night—and other rarely, if ever, lent works to offer an unprecedented perspective on Van Gogh’s fascination with the flamelike trees
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced that a groundbreaking exhibition of some 40 works by Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) will be on view at The Met Fifth Avenue from May 22 through August 27, 2023. Van Gogh’s Cypresses will be the first show to focus on the unique vision the artist brought to bear on the towering trees—among the most famous in the history of art—affording an unprecedented perspective on a motif virtually synonymous with Van Gogh’s fiercely original power of expression.
A range of stunning works will illuminate the extent of Van Gogh’s fascination with the region’s flamelike evergreens as they successively sparked, fueled, and stoked his imagination over the course of two years in the South of France: from his initial sightings of the “tall and dark” trees in Arles to realizing their full evocative potential (“as I see them”) at the asylum in Saint-Rémy. Iconic paintings such as Wheat Field with Cypresses and The Starry Night will take their place as the centerpiece of this historic exhibition, which will only be presented at The Met.
“The show is a dream come true,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met. “Marking the 170th-anniversary year of his birth, this highly focused survey unpacks Van Gogh’s distinctive vision of the commanding cypress trees. A once-in-a-lifetime gathering of works presents both an overview and an intimate glimpse of his creative process, challenging prevailing notions with fresh insights.”
Juxtaposing landmark paintings with precious drawings and illustrated letters—many rarely, if ever, lent or exhibited together—this tightly conceived thematic exhibition will offer an extraordinary opportunity to appreciate anew some of Van Gogh’s most celebrated works in a context that will reveal the backstory of their invention for the first time.
Anchored by The Met’s Wheat Field with Cypresses and Cypresses, highlights of the exhibition will include The Starry Night (Museum of Modern Art, New York), A Wheatfield, with Cypresses (The National Gallery, London), and Country Road in Provence by Night (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo), as well as drawings from the Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, and Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Susan Alyson Stein, Engelhard Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Painting at The Met, added: “To an extent that has gone unrecognized, Van Gogh brought his trademark ambition, determination, and a rare degree of consideration—and reconsideration—to giving signature form to the storied cypresses in works as striking for their originality as for their continuity of vision.”