Step into the Artist’s World: “Imagine Van Gogh” at La Villette in Paris

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Step into the Artist’s World: “Imagine Van Gogh” at La Villette in Paris
“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” –Vincent Van Gogh In a very original presentation, the Grand Hall of La Villette opens its doors to Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) with a musical immersive exhibition. This not-to-miss event plunges the viewer into 2000m2 of prolific projections of the artist’s paintings and letters with dizzying dimensions. A massive installation of projectors and speakers creates a phenomenal audio-visual journey made possible by cutting-edge technological equipment. This incredible exhibition/show/scenography is the creation of Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron who have collaborated in the creation of “Cathedral of Images” in Les Baux de Provence since 2001. Their approach? Putting technology at the service of art by immersing the viewer into the heart of the work so he taps in to feel the creative emotions of the artist. This show has appeal for every age group because “the viewer is encouraged to make his own way around the installations – imagine his Van Gogh.” Each installation is beautifully matched – by Mauger and Baron – to music by Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Bach, Delibes and Satie. Don’t miss this emotional journey to contemplate and better understand what all naturalist painters seek to grasp when portraying real life. Get to know Vincent from early morning until the Starry, Starry Night, the Irises and the Sunflowers – it’s an emotional journey from Provence via Auvers-sur-Oise. Walk by Van Gogh’s side for the 27 minute loop and take in about 280-300 of his works. You’ll view his art with a different eye – in the words of Annabelle and Julien – “you’ll tap into Van Gogh’s brushes.” What brings a lump to the throat is the fact that Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime – Red Vineyard at Arles – for 400 francs (equal to about $1,000-1,050 today). The painting is now exhibited at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. The rest of Van Gogh’s more than 900 paintings were not sold or made famous until after his death aged just 37! Not only have Van Gogh’s artworks come to define post-Impressionism and provided endless inspiration for artists, but his tragic life story has also captured the hearts of countless musicians, writers and filmmakers too. Don McLean’s 1971 hit song “Vincent” is inspired by Van Gogh’s unique perspective on the world. He sings, “They did not listen, they did not know how… perhaps they’ll listen now.” Enjoy! IMAGINE VAN GOGH, until 10 September 2017, Grande Hall de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaures, 19th. Metro: Porte de Pantin (Line 5). Tramway Line 3b. Tarif: 14.90€. Children 12.90€. Website:

Lead photo credit : Imagine Van Gogh. © lililillilil

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !


  • janet
    2017-06-29 16:46:59
    Me too.I arrive on the first for my annual visit and am SO GLAD to know of this


  • Renee Johnson
    2017-06-29 13:10:51
    Renee Johnson
    Van Gogh's work means so much more to me after traveling through Provence--a place of inspiration for his art. This exhibit is on my must-see list.


  • Michele Kulander
    2017-06-26 18:41:19
    Michele Kulander
    So so glad it is there till September 10, Margaret. I arrive on August 29 and now I have to put this exhibit on my list of must sees for my first week there! I have always loved Van Gogh because of the emotionally charged feelings engendered when standing close to his works and observing the thickness of the paint and the obvious strength of the brushwork. You can almost feel him in his work that way. Also - I have visited Auvers several times, and recall that the first time, I brought back a small paperback biography and found myself sitting the next day in the restaurant at the Musee D'Orsay finishing it - after seeing his works there (the reason I had followed up my Auvers day at the Orsay)- and finding tears welling up in my eyes as I read how he had shot himself, and then walked back to the tiny almost windowless room at the Auberge Ravoux (which I had just visited) and lay there for several days smoking and meeting with his friends - and his brother, who arrived from Paris - and the local doctor (a gynecologist) and refusing treatment as he slowly passed away, apparently wanting to "go home" (one of the alternatives to what are said to have been his last words). He lived such a sad life.