Van Gogh’s Postman: The Portraits of Joseph Roulin

Feb 1–May 15, 2001


Vincent van Gogh. Portrait of Joseph Roulin. Arles, early 1889. Oil on canvas, 25 3/8 × 21 3/4″ (64.4 × 55.2 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Rosenberg, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Mr. and Mrs. Armand P. Bartos, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection, Mr. and Mrs. Werner E. Josten, and Loula D. Lasker Bequest (all by exchange). Photo: Thomas Griesel
  • MoMA, Floor 2

This small exhibition brings together five different portraits made by Vincent van Gogh, over a crucial eight-month period in 1888 and 1889, of one of the most important figures in his life. Joseph Roulin was a postal employee in Arles, became a surrogate “big brother” for the artist, caring for Vincent during the major onset of mental illness that came in 1888, and seeing him through the asylum months of early 1889. Now the Museum’s own well-loved Portrait of Joseph Roulin can be seen in the context of four other paintings (and two superb drawings) of this same extraordinary personality, drawn from museum collections in America and Europe.

Organized by Kirk Varnedoe, Chief Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

This exhibition is made possible by BNP Paribas, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and an anonymous donor.


  • Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night Paperback, 48 pages
  • Van Gogh's Postman : the portraits of Joseph Roulin Out of print, 12 pages
  • Press release 3 pages


Installation images

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