Collection Connections: Vincent van Gogh

August 15 – November 5, 2023

Stairwell Gallery


For our anniversary celebrations in 2023, the Museum has planned installations that highlight different aspects of its collection. In 1927, one of our founders, Lauren Chase Eastman, donated Jean-François Millet’s pastel First Steps. A photograph of this work, sent to Vincent van Gogh by his brother Theo, was the basis for an oil painting now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We will hang our Millet and a reproduction of the Van Gogh side-by-side in a spotlight exhibition. Interpretive material will explore Van Gogh’s process for producing his painting and describe the impact that Millet’s work had on the younger artist. Also on display will be other connections between the Museum’s collection and Van Gogh, including a painting by Anton Mauve, who was married to Van Gogh’s cousin and was a very significant early influence on his artwork, and a Japanese woodblock print that inspired his painting Bridge in the Rain (After Hiroshige).




“The Modernity of Jean-François Millet”
 by Simon Kelly, Ph.D.,
Curator and Head of Department of Modern and Contemporary Art
Saint Louis Art Museum


Thursday, September 21, 2023
5:30 p.m. Lecture
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reception


This lecture will explore the life and work of Jean-François Millet, exploring his

This lecture will explore the life and work of Jean-François Millet, artistic innovation and his impact on later artists including Vincent van Gogh. It will provide fresh context for the pastel by Millet, First Steps, in the collection of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Dr. Simon Kelly, Curator and Head of Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, has written extensively on nineteenth and early twentieth-century French art, with a particular focus on Barbizon and Impressionist landscape painting. He recently co-curated Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dali (2020), and his essays are included in numerous exhibition catalogues such as In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet and Becoming Van Gogh. Kelly worked previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he also taught art history.



Image Credits:

Jean-François Millet (French, 1814-1875), First Steps, c. 1856-1858, pastel on paper, Gift of the Estate of Lauren Chase Eastman, 27.17


Anton Mauve (Dutch, 1838-1888), Cattle, c. 1880, oil on wood panel, Gift of Nina Eastman Rogers (from the Lauren Chase Eastman Collection), 34.26


Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858), Sudden Shower over Shin-Ōhashi Bridge and Atake (Ōhashi Atake no yūdachi), from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei), c. 1857, Gift of Wallace B. Rogers, 23.762




















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