Portrait of Vincent van Gogh by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1887
The lone artist, wrestling with their genius and isolated by their obsession with their work, is a popular stereotype. But artists are just people, and it’s often through their close friendships with other artists that great creative leaps are made.
When thinking of great painters who painted Provence, two names immediately jump to mind: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. But before they created their celebrated works there, these outsiders had profound experiences and friendships in Paris that would alter their artistic paths.
In a 3-session course, popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw examines two such relationships: Paul Cézanne’s friendship with Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh’s friendship with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the vibrant avant-garde art scene pioneered by Édouard Manet.
April 13 Paris and Manet
The story begins in Paris with Édouard Manet and how wars, revolutions, and massive renovation transformed the city over the course of his life. Manet’s work reflected his times and ignited an artistic revolution that set the stage that made the innovations of Pissarro, Cézanne, van Gogh, and Toulouse Lautrec possible.
April 20 Curious Kindreds: Cézanne and Pissarro
Glenshaw takes a close look at the decades-long friendship between the older, calmer Pissarro and the young, brash Cézanne. Their bond began as a relationship between mentor and mentee and transformed Cézanne’s work, pushing him beyond the light and color of impressionism into a new world of structure and abstraction.
April 27 Curious Kindreds: van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec
This very brief friendship brought together two men whose backgrounds had so little in common yet who were both outsiders, even in the avant-garde circles of Parisian art. Van Gogh was older, impoverished, and struggling to advance as an artist. Lautrec was younger, wealthy, and wielded extraordinary virtuosic skill. Van Gogh’s time in Paris was short, but in the world he shared with Toulouse-Lautrec he bloomed and was able to set off to Arles and become the master so revered today.
Glenshaw is an artist, educator, author, and filmmaker with more than 35 years’ experience working across disciplines in the arts, history, and sciences. He created the Art+History series for Smithsonian Associates and has a degree in painting from Washington University in St. Louis.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.