The ties that bind BOOKED OUT
Double lecture on John Russell and Vincent van Gogh
Australian painter John Russell and Dutchman Vincent van Gogh became close friends in France in the late 19th century, both foreigners enmeshed in Europe’s most progressive artistic community.
Nienke Bakker, curator of paintings at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and Wayne Tunnicliffe, the Gallery’s head of Australian art, explore the artistic affinities of the two artists in this double lecture on the opening day of the exhibition John Russell.
John Russell, from colonial Sydney to impressionist Paris
John Russell left a privileged life in Darlinghurst, Sydney, to study art in London and then at a small teaching studio in Paris where his remarkable contemporaries included Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh. This lecture will explore Russell’s unique experiences in London and then at the centre of the French avant-garde during a time of immense contestation and change. It will trace Russell’s transformation from a conventional painter to an exciting and original colourist who explored new ways of representing the natural world.
Wayne Tunnicliffe is Head Curator of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and curator of John Russell: Australia’s French impressionist. He was curator and co-editor of the exhibition and book Pop to Popism (2014), curatorial advisor and essayist for Australia’s impressionists (2016) at the National Gallery, London; co-curator of The National: new Australian art (2017); and curator and author of the monograph Mikala Dwyer: A shape of thought (2017).
Van Gogh in Paris
Having worked for five years as an artist in the Netherlands, Vincent van Gogh moved to Paris in 1886. His discovery of the work of the impressionists and his acquaintance with young avant-garde artists, as well as his growing admiration for Japanese prints, led him to develop rapidly into a fervent colourist. This lecture will trace the transformation of Van Gogh’s art and ambitions during this important period of experimentation, paying particular attention to the influence of Japanese coloured woodblock prints on his mature style.
Nienke Bakker is senior curator of paintings at the Van Gogh Museum. She was a member of the editorial team of a web version of Vincent van Gogh’s complete correspondence as well as the six-volume print publication Vincent van Gogh – the letters: the complete illustrated and annotated edition (2009) and the anthology Ever yours: the essential letters (2014). She has curated several exhibitions on Van Gogh and late 19th-century art, including Van Gogh’s letters (2009), Van Gogh at work (2013), Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: impressions of landscape (2016), On the verge of insanity: Van Gogh and his illness (2016) and Van Gogh and Japan (2018).
Image: John Russell Vincent van Gogh 1886 (detail), Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)