On the Gogh: What's New in the Nineteenth-Century European Paintings Galleries

Alison Hokanson
August 9, 2018
View of a gallery of Van Gogh paintings

View of eight of The Met's paintings by Vincent van Gogh, as currently installed in gallery 825

For the first time in several years, all sixteen of our department's paintings by Vincent van Gogh—the largest collection of his work on this side of the Atlantic—are in-house and on view in the galleries for nineteenth-century European paintings. Visitors can enjoy highlights from the artist's prolific years in France, including portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. These masterpieces are often committed to exhibitions around the world, making this a not-to-be-missed occasion. Be sure to catch all of them as you walk through galleries 822 and 825.

Installation views of a Gauguin self-portrait, a Cezanne portrait of a friend, and two Courbet paintings depicting dogs and hunting scenes

Top left: Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906). Victor Chocquet (1821–1891), 1876–77. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Top right: Paul Gauguin (French 1848–1903). Self-Portrait with Palette, ca. 1894. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Bottom left: Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877). The Dog of Ornans, 1856. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Bottom right: Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877). After the Hunt, ca. 1859. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.61)

Visitors will also spot an array of loans from private collections enriching the nineteenth-century galleries. In gallery 826, Cézanne's portrait of his patron Victor Chocquet is displayed near four other portraits from the Museum's collection, including two of Cézanne's favorite model, his wife, Hortense Fiquet. Gauguin's self-portrait in an astrakhan hat and blue overcoat, described by the artist's contemporaries as resembling "a sumptuous, gigantic Magyar, or . . . Rembrandt in 1635," joins Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat from The Met collection in gallery 825. And in gallery 811, Gustave Courbet's endearing depiction of a brown-and-white dog is the perfect companion to the spirited hunting scenes that have been part of our collection for many years.

View of three paintings in a gallery, two by Seurat and one by Charles Angrand

Left: Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891). The Forest at Pontaubert, 1881. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Gift of Raymonde Paul, in memory of her brother, C. Michael Paul, by exchange, 1985 (1985.237). Center: Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891). Study for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951 (51.112.6). Right: Charles Angrand (French, 1854–1926). Corner of the Parc Monceau, 1888. Oil on canvas. Private collection

A respite from sweltering subway platforms and crowded sidewalks is on offer in gallery 825, thanks to a trio of verdant Neo-Impressionist landscapes: Charles Angrand's balmy Corner of the Parc Monceau, on loan from a private collection, is displayed alongside his mentor Seurat's The Forest at Pontaubert and the final study for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which were just re-installed after a star turn in the recently closed exhibition Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence. Visitors strolling through the galleries will spot two earlier views of the Parc Monceau by Monet in gallery 818.

View of Bertold Löffler's "Youth Playing the Pipes of Pan" installed next to a Klimt portrait of a woman

Left: Bertold Löffler (Austrian, 1874–1960). Youth Playing the Pipes of Pan, 1912. Oil on canvas. The Hearn Family Trust. Right: Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862–1918). Serena Pulitzer Lederer (1867–1943), 1899. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Wolfe Fund, and Rogers and Munsey Funds, Gift of Henry Walters, and Bequests of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe and Collis P. Huntington, by exchange, 1980 (1980.412)

In gallery 829, loans from private collections emphasize the innovative styles and motifs shared by artists across Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. The Met's Gustav Klimt portraits and our recently acquired The Dream of the Shepherd (Der Traum des Hirten) by Ferdinand Hodler are in good company with Youth Playing the Pipes of Pan by the Austrian Secessionist artist and designer Bertold Löffler, loaned by the Hearn Family Trust.

View of three works by Munch, Hammershøi, and George Minne

Left: Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944). Cypress in Moonlight, 1892. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Center: George Minne (Belgian, 1866–1941). Three Holy Women at the Tomb, modeled 1896, carved before 1918. Varnished oak. On loan from the Collection of Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh, 2017. Right: Vilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864–1916). Self-Portrait, 1911. Oil on canvas. Lent by the Hearn Family Trust

Meanwhile, the otherworldly side of art in this period is revealed in a moonlit windowed view by the Norwegian Edvard Munch, on loan from a private collection; the haunting sculpture Three Holy Women at the Tomb by the Belgian George Minne, from the Collection of Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh; and a penetrating self-portrait by the Dane Vilhelm Hammershøi, also loaned by the Hearn Family Trust.

View of a gallery of paintings by northern European artists from the 19th century

View of gallery 813, featuring works from The Met collection and a selection of loans from the Hearn Family Trust and another private collection

The contemplative mood continues in gallery 813 with a constellation of interior scenes. Our recent acquisitions by Hammershøi and the Belgian Fernand Khnopff team up with loaned works by Munch, Khnopff, and his compatriot Xavier Mellery in a dreamy display that illuminates how artists of the era transformed everyday rooms into mysterious and evocative spaces.

Like all of summer's pleasures, this one is destined to be fleeting: While some of the loans are long-term, the pictures by Angrand, Cézanne, Courbet, and Gauguin will be returning to their homes beginning in late August.

Related Content

Read essays related to the artists and movements discussed in this article on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: "Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)"; "Paul Gauguin (1848–1903)"; "Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)"; "Gustave Courbet (1819–1877)"; "Georges Seurat (1859–1891) and Neo-Impressionism"; "Post-Impressionism"; "Symbolism."

What's going on in The Met's Old Master galleries? View the web feature Met Masterpieces in a New Light to learn about the European Paintings Skylights Project, in which the skylights that admit natural overhead light into the galleries for optimal viewing of the collection will be replaced, in order to update and improve the quality of light in the galleries and resolve basic maintenance issues.

Alison Hokanson

Alison Hokanson is an assistant curator in the Department of European Paintings at The Met.