Stages of the Exhibition

Imagine Van Gogh, designed by Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron (longtime collaborators on projects at Cathédrale d’images), is a direct continuation of Albert Plécy’s concept of the “Image Totale”.

The post-impressionist and even expressionist character of Van Gogh’s work, particularly that from the last two years of his life, creates a boundless playground of opportunities for the exhibition’s directors. Van Gogh delighted in painting what he saw, but he distorted and exaggerated all figuration. As a result, the scope of interpretative possibilities proliferates as the canvases become fragmented and subtle details are punctuated.

This original presentation, obtained through the mastery of dimension and space with an additional poetic touch, is not seeking to simply reiterate what already exists, but rather to author a new poem. The Starry Night, for example, is magnified by a precise division of the painting, accentuating the detail of its movements and the isolation of its stars. The end result creates an enchanting fiction, exploding across the entire projection surface.

Visitors enter a room with extraordinary screen dimensions. Usually when looking at a painting it would only measure 70 cm in height, but now this same painting is over 7 m high! This size now allows you to be as close as possible to the art and awaken all of your senses for an intimate understanding of his work of art while demonstrating this within an impressive setting.

The directors assert that the anachronism, inherent in presenting works with these modifications of scale, allows for new interpretations beyond the lecture du détail (literally the “reading of detail”), the interpretive framework preferred by Daniel Arasse in his book, Histoire de la peinture.

Technology at the Service of Art Through More Than 200 Works by Van Gogh

It was between Provence and l’Ile-de-France that Vincent realized his most beautiful paintings. As visitors follow his itinerary, they discover Van Gogh’s pictorial work from this period. Their journey begins with a portrait of the artist, whose deep blue eyes seem to leap from the canvas as they stare back intensely.

Sky and sun, landscapes, urban and rural backdrops, villagers, peasants, still lifes, along with the miseries and joys of humanity are all depicted in turn, colouring the canvas under the discerning eye of a painter contemplating the turn of the century.

The works presented in  Imagine Van Gogh concernent :


The Arles Period

Selected works: The Yellow House, Café Terrace at Night, Harvest at La Crau with Montmajour in the Background, L’Arlésienne : Madame Ginoux, Sunflowers, Starry Night over the Rhône (1888).

When the mistral’s blowing, though, it’s the very opposite of a pleasant land here, because themistral’s really aggravating. But what a compensation, what a compensation, when there’s a day with no wind. What intensity of colours, what pure air, what serene vibrancy.

Vincent Van Gogh

The Saint-Rémy-de-Provence Period

Selected works: The Garden of St. Paul Hospital, The Red Vineyard, The Road Menders, Les Alyscamps, Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries (1889).

For many days I’ve been absolutely distraught, as in Arles, just as much if not worse, and it’s to be presumed that these crises will recur in the future, it is abominable.»

Vincent Van Gogh

The Auvers-sur-Oise Period

Selected works : The Town Hall at Auvers, Portrait of Doctor Gachet, The House of Pere Pilon, Daubigny’s Garden. The Church at Auvers, Landscape of Auvers in the Rain, Wheatfield with Crows (May 20 to July 29, 1890).

Auvers is really beautiful – among other things many old thatched roofs, which are becoming rare. I’d hope, then, that in doing a few canvases of that really seriously, there would be a chance of recouping some of the costs of my stay – for really, it’s gravely beautiful, it’s the heart of the countryside, distinctive and picturesque.

They’re immense stretches of wheatfields under turbulent skies, and I made a point of trying to express sadness, extreme loneliness. You’ll see this soon, I hope – for I hope to bring them to you in Paris as soon as possible, since I’d almost believe that these canvases will tell you what I can’t say in words, what I consider healthy and fortifying about the countryside.

Vincent Van Gogh 

The journey ends in July 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise, in a small room at Auberge Ravoux. The walls are covered with the most beautiful self-portraits of Vincent.


Musical works

Sergei Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, Montagues and Capulets, Dance of the Knights
Jean-Sébastien Bach Cello Suite n°1 in G Major, BWV 1007 – Prelude
Camille Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto N° 5 in F Major, Op. 103 – II. Andante
Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony in A – II. Andantino
Camille Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto N° 3 in B Minor, Op. 61 – Andantino Quasi
Erik Satie 1ère Gymnopédie N° 1 – Lent et douloureux
Camille Saint-Saëns Symphony N°2 in A Minor,Op. 55 – I. Allegro Marcato
Erik Satie Gnossiennes – Lent
Georg Friedrich Haendel Sarabande – Largo
Franz Schubert Scherzando
Camille Saint-Saëns The Carnival of the Animals – VII. Aquarium
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major – Rondo Allegro
Léo Delibes Lakmé, Flower Duet