Vincent Van Gogh's paintings became the epitome of modern international art early in the 20th century, over a decade after he committed suicide. His influence on German and Austrian expressionism is the subject of the Van Gogh exhibit at the Neue Galerie at 86th and Fifth Avenue.
Van Gogh's self studies and his sunflowers are less on view than the impact he had on others. To prepare for the exhibit, I read The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh edited by Mark Roskill. A few weeks ago I was surprised at how tourists flocked in front of Van Gogh's Starry Night at the MOMA and were more interested in capturing the painting on digital than they were in just taking it in with regular ol' eyeballs. At the Neue Galerie you can't take photos but the collection of his works and the way they have been selected and curated is excellent. This is a must-see exhibit.
Van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother, Theo, who supported the artist, "Cobalt is a divine colour, and there is nothing so beautiful for putting atmosphere around things." Van Gogh painted halos to also give a sense of the divine and you can see both the cobalt and the halo in this painting which is one of the ones on exhibit. He painted many self portraits (at least 35) and sunflowers.
While there you can also see the most expensive painting, Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, purchased last year for the Neue Galerie.