And with the amazing immersive Van Gogh exhibit recently being extended, we couldn’t help but wonder what the Post-Impressionist master would think of NYC!
From strolls through nature for inspiration to finally seeing the success of his own work on view, we used what’s known about Van Gogh personally (which isn’t too much) to craft what we think he would visit in NYC..
Here’s what we decided on, where and why!
Van Gogh was sadly never able to see the success of his work. In fact, it’s said that he only formally sold one painting in his lifetime! So we can’t imagine what he would think of an entire exhibit devoted to him (in a good way!), which allows you step right inside his paintings (he’d probably be pretty overwhelmed by the technology too…). Using state-of-the-art video mapping and projections, Van Gogh’s paintings come alive in 360 degrees around visitors, allowing them to see each brushstroke swirl and listen to the artist’s words in a multisensory experience. He could let us know if it really is what it looked like in his mind while creating the masterpieces.
Where: 200 Vesey St.Get tickets here.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown
In the same vein, we think Van Gogh would love to see his own works displayed in one of the most prominent art museums in the world, especially one he actually considered a failure but would go on to become one of his most iconic pieces: Starry Night. The famous work is currently on view on the fifth floor of The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries.
Where: 11 West 53 St.
Van Gogh loved spending time in nature (as you can tell by a lot of his paintings), so we think he’d definitely want to visit Manhattan’s main outdoor escape: Central Park. Besides just strolling the grounds, we think he’d love the Conservatory Garden on the Upper East Side. It’s under-the-radar so a lot less crowded than other areas, and in the spring is overflowing with 20,000 tulips and daffodils planted alongside an abundance of gorgeous lilacs, summer perennials, crabapple trees, and chrysanthemums.
Where: East Side of the park between 104 and 106 St.
Van Gogh lived in Paris for a time, so we think he’d like a taste of home by venturing down the streets of NYC’s own Little Paris. This unofficial neighborhood holds “quaint little boutiques, cafes and restaurants, and bakeries” that reminded French business owners in the area of dear Paris. There are even official signs! Read more about it here.
Where: Centre St., between Broome & Grand St.
The Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Natural History
Though Van Gogh might be disappointed that you can’t quite see the glittering night sky filled with stars in the big city, we think he’d be mesmerized experiencing them via the Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium Space Theater. With a custom-made Zeiss Mark IX Star Projector and Digital Dome Projection System, he’d be amazed and inspired by the hyperrealistic view of the planets, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.
Where: 200 Central Park West
St. John the Divine Church, Upper West Side
Nearby is the Church of St. John the Divine, a stunning 19th century Cathedral with Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic elements. We could see him being inspired to create a similar painting to The Church at Auvers; plus the architecture is from his own time period.
Where: 1047 Amsterdam Ave.
Barclay Rex Tobacco Shop, Downtown Manhattan
Van Gogh was rarely without his pipe, so we wouldn’t be surprised if he stopped by this century-old shop in Downtown Manhattan.
Where: 126 Pearl St.
Van Gogh probably wouldn’t mind venturing out of the city to escape the crowds for a day, and Happy Day Farm in Manalapan Township, New Jersey is one of the best places to view bright yellow sunflowers (this visit would have to be in the summer then, of course). Van Gogh said that sunflowers communicated “gratitude,” and painted two different creations of them 1888 and 1889 in Arles, which are some of his most famous works now. Perhaps he would add to the collection, though taking them out of a vase for this one!
Where: 106 Iron Ore Rd, Manalapan Township, NJ