It’s finally here, THE LUME Indianapolis is open at Newfields. The multi-sensory digital display of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings transforms the entire fourth floor of the museum. Because Newfields is fortunate to have a painting by this great titan of modern art in its collection, one gallery of THE LUME displays our Van Gogh, Landscape at Saint-Rémy, alongside paintings by two of Van Gogh’s most illustrious contemporaries, Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne.
This fabulous trio of paintings were all painted within a 5-year period in the south of France, in the late 19th century. This enormously innovative period of art saw traditional rules of art upended through the use of bold color combinations, innovative brushwork, and novel forms of composition. All three artists chose to escape the rigid norms and constraints of the Parisian art world, venturing south to the region of Provence to recharge and seek new subjects and motifs. Here they were greeted by bright, intense sunlight and distinctive vegetation which inspired them to dramatically alter how they painted. Although it took time for each of them to be appreciated for their revolutionary techniques and compositions, they all had a ground-breaking impact on other artists of their time, and also on later generations of artists.
Van Gogh’s Landscape at Saint-Rémy dates to the final year of Van Gogh’s life. It was painted during the 12-month period when Van Gogh had himself committed to a mental health hospital near the town of Saint-Rémy. He had suffered a breakdown weeks earlier while in Arles, and chose to recover at a more tranquil location, the private asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, housed in a cluster of buildings that once served as the monastery of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole. Hoping that Vincent would find solace and support there, his brother Theo requested that he be allowed to paint during his hospitalization. This exception was granted when he arrived there in May 1889, so Vincent received not only a bedroom but also a room that served as his studio.
Landscape at Saint-Rémy depicts a vista that Van Gogh became intimately familiar with. It captures the view he would have seen daily from his bedroom window. The wheatfields yield to the region’s dramatic craggy hills rising on the horizon just beyond the hospital’s walls, and he would have seen this view changing seasonally. He captured it in paint over and over again, at different times of the day, at different times of the year, in a variety of color combinations. The year he spent at the hospital in Saint-Rémy was a highly productive period for him in which he completed more than 150 paintings, including masterpieces like The Starry Night, Almond Blossoms, as well as Indianapolis’ own Landscape at Saint-Rémy.
THE LUME Indianapolis is made possible through funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. Additional support is provided by Monna Quinn & David Spoelstra and Ms. Nancy L. McMillan. In-kind support is generously provided by Show Sage LLC.