Expression and Mediality in Van Gogh's Painting

Der Pöstler Joseph Roulin, November–Dezember 1888; Öl/Leinwand, 65 x 54 cm; Winterthur, Kunstmuseum [F435/JH1674].
The notion of expression in modern art is closely entangled with the reception history of Vincent van Gogh, and yet, expression has to the greatest extend been neglected by recent academic investigations of the painter. To readdress this issue and to revaluate Van Gogh’s œuvre in its light is the primary objective of this research project.
The dismissal of expression by Van Gogh scholars must be ascribed to their intensified efforts to demystify the painter’s famous and popular life story and œuvre in the context of an intellectual climate increasingly critical of subject-oriented thought. Therefore, the main challenge will be to show that reconstructing expression as a central discursive and phenomenological factor in Van Gogh’s painting is not contradictory to rigorous historical contextualization, but that both are complementary scholarly agendas.