The Pain of Pastoral Life: Millet's Impact on Van Gogh

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The Pain of Pastoral Life: Millet's Impact on Van Gogh
The Frick Collection - The Frick Collection
Judy Sund of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York presents: Van Gogh's Peasants: The Essence of Earthiness

Van Gogh's portraits of Patience Escalier, one of which will be on loan to the Frick this fall, were part of his long-term project to capture the essence of the peasant. Inspired by literary descriptions as well as by the art of the past, he was intent on giving definitive form to a well-established type. Abandoning strict accuracy in favor of evocative color and texture, van Gogh aimed to convey a sense of the agrarian laborer's life on the land and to capture something "truer than the literal truth."

A native of southern California, Judy Sund earned her B.A. at San Diego State University and her Ph.D. in art history at Columbia University. She is a modernist who specializes in the art and architecture of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries in Europe and the United States. She is particularly well known for her work on van Gogh, having published two books on that artist (True to Temperament: Van Gogh and French Naturalist Literature, 1992, and Van Gogh: Art and Ideas, 2002), in addition to several essays. Professor Sund's secondary field of interest is the art and architecture of the Pre-Columbian Americas. Her current research interests include exoticisms in Western art, visual artists' responses to texts, and intersections of "high art" and popular culture (e.g. advertising, fashion, and popular entertainment).

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