“I envy the Japanese” Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. In the exhibition on which this film is based, one can see why. Though Vincent van Gogh never visited Japan it is the country that had the most profound influence on him and his art.
One cannot understand Van Gogh without understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th century and the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh. Visiting the new galleries of Japanese art in Paris and then creating his own image of Japan – through in-depth research, print collecting and detailed discussions with other artists – Van Gogh’s encounter with Japanese artworks gave his work a new and exciting direction.