Collection 1880s–1940s

502

Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh

Last chance

Through Mar 10

MoMA

Vincent van Gogh. The Olive Trees. Saint Rémy, June-July 1889. Oil on canvas, 28 5/8 × 36" (72.6 × 91.4 cm). Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 502 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

The Museum of Modern Art opened to the public in November 1929 with an exhibition of four 19th-century artists: Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh. In the accompanying catalogue, Alfred H. Barr Jr., the Museum’s first director, explained that he had chosen these four artists for MoMA’s inaugural show because they were especially revered by contemporary painters. Though these artists had been active decades prior, Barr argued that “so revolutionary are certain aspects of their work that it is still subject to misunderstanding and, for a recalcitrant few, battleground of controversy.” They’d made a decisive break from the traditional conventions of painting, valuing innovative stylistic approaches over descriptive resemblance.

Now perceived as classics, these artists’ works remain core to MoMA’s collection. This gallery includes a number of paintings from that first show, as well as works by the four artists that arrived at MoMA in subsequent years.

Organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

10 works online

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

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