Van Gogh's 'Repetitions' Opens in D.C.

A new exhibit at the Phillips Collection highlights Van Gogh's process of creating multiple versions of his subjects. See photos.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Collection Kroˆller-Muˆller Museum, Otterlo

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Collection Kroˆller-Muˆller Museum, Otterlo

Van Gogh Repititions, a new exhibit at Washington DC's Phillips Collection, is the first of its kind to focus on the Post-Impressionist's use of one subject to create multiple pieces. The exhibition provides a close look at Vincent Van Gogh's best-known works, "to examine how and why he repeated certain compositions during his 10-year career," according to the museum. Some of these paintings, such as the 1889 Portrait of Camille Roulin, or his 1889 painting The Road Menders, were produced in multiple forms -- from sketches to paintings -- in numerous hues before becoming the celebrated images the world knows today. The term “repetitions" was coined by the artist himself to "describe his practice of creating more than one version of a particular subject. Back in the studio, he would repeat the subject, reworking and refining his idea on a fresh canvas, in some cases many times, to extract the essence of a motif." Similarly, the show highlights Van Gogh's use of "repeating" pieces from other artists, such as Paul Gaugin. Van Gogh Repititions, which features 35 paintings -- from portraits to landscapes -- and 13 images of repetitions, is on display from October 12 through January 26, 2014.

-- Erin Cunningham

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Tompkins Collection—Arthur Gordon Tomkins Fund

Weaver, 1884


Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany

Le Moulin de la Galette, 1886


The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles, 1888


Maurice Tromp/Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Portrait of Camille Roulin, 1888


Maurice Tromp/Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Portrait of Marcelle Roulin, 1888


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

L'Arlésienne (Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux), 1888– 89


Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

The Postman Joseph Roulin, February–March 1889


The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

The Road Menders, 1889


Musée d’Orsay, Paris. © RMN-Grand Palais/Hervé Lewandowski/Art Resource, NY

The Bedroom at Arles, October 1889


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Lullaby: Madame Augustine Roulin Rocking a Cradle (La Berceuse), 1889


National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome

L’Arlesienne, 1890