Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources

This exhibition seeks to immerse viewers in the visual imagination of one of the most beloved artists in the world. Presenting 20 works of art by Van Gogh alongside some 75 objects selected to reflect the surprisingly varied art that he most admired, the show firmly reconnects Vincent to his late 19th-century context. Over 60 artists are represented in the exhibition, including Jules Breton, Anton Mauve, Adolphe Monticelli, Léon-Augustin Lhermitte, Jean-François Raffaëlli and a host of other names less familiar to most American audiences, as well as the better known Romantic master Eugène Delacroix, the artists of the Barbizon school and the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin. By juxtaposing celebrated artworks by Van Gogh with works by the many artists he admired, the show seeks to foreground both Vincent's indebtedness to and radical departure from the art world of his day. The exhibition also taps into Van Gogh's literary imagination by displaying first-editions of novels by Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Leo Tolstoy and Edgar Allan Poe to conjure up the fictional worlds that enflamed Vincent's inner eye.

See the Press Release

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Principal Sponsors:

Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree

Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation

The Luria/Budgor
Family Foundation
Zegar Family Foundation

Major support by:
Gina Jannotta
Nancy and Doug Norberg
Diane Pace Sullivan
Barbara Woods

Additional funding is provided by: Pat Aoyama and Chris Kleveland, Christine and Michael Holland, Robert Lehman Foundation, Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, Dutch Culture USA Program, Santa Barbara Beautiful, the City of Santa Barbara Events and Festivals Grant Program, and SBMA Dead Artists Society.

The exhibition catalogue is made possible through the generosity of the Luria/Budgor Family Foundation.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities

This exhibition was organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.

School Field Trips (K-12)

School field trips to visit the Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources exhibition are fully booked. For questions, please email

For questions, please contact SBMA’s Education Department at 805.884.6457 or email Elena Hancock at

School Field Trips (College)

To book a tour for colleges and universities, please call 805.884.6423 or email Museum Visitor Services staff are happy to assist you.

Community Partners Portal

Group Tours

Beginning March 1

Tuesday – 2:15 pm

Wednesday – 2:15 pm

Thursday – 2:15 pm

Friday – 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm

To book a group tour, please call 805.884.6423 or email Museum Visitor Services staff are happy to assist you.

Docent Tours

Docent-led tours are offered daily at 1:15 pm during the run of the exhibition. The tour is included with the special exhibition ticket.

“Deliberate or not, the Through Vincent’s Eyes exhibit represents serious art history pushing back against the tide of commercialization and merchandising that has engulfed Van Gogh in the 21st century. Through Vincent’s Eyes gambles that the people of Santa Barbara want a historically informed presentation of Van Gogh’s art. They are ready to see his work through the lens of the visual culture he experienced. Rather than seeing his work projected 40 feet high in digital reproduction, visitors to Through Vincent’s Eyes will see what it might have been like to see the world from his perspective.”
—Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent
“A surprisingly engrossing exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art digs into the wide-ranging sources on which Van Gogh drew during the 10 short years in which he worked, demonstrating a voracious appetite. It’s surprising because a show like this, surveying influence, is tough to pull off. Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources puts together 20 of his paintings, dispersing them throughout galleries filled with 75 examples by 62 other artists.”
–Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times
Through Vincent’s Eyes succeeds at showing Van Gogh as a far more complex and rational character than the conventional narrative dictates.”
–Judith Dobrzynski, Wall Street Journal
“One need not be an art historian to glean insight from this thoughtful, gorgeous exhibit, which puts the viewer inside the visual culture of Van Gogh’s world. It proposes that he didn’t just spring forth a genius, and he didn’t live in a vacuum: he developed over time in response to many influences. It is truly eye-opening.”
–Julia McHugh, Santa Maria Times
“SB knocks one out of the park…. I was able to see a preview of the Van Gogh show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The concept, content, layout, and exposition is equal or superior to shows I’ve seen anywhere in the world…. Congratulations SB Museum of Art and to us fortunate SB residents who can see this show over and over….”
–Jeff Oshin, SBMA Member, Santa Barbara
“When I heard about the Van Gogh exhibit on KCLU radio, I immediately joined the museum and reserved a time to visit. I met a friend from Laguna Beach, and we were both blown away by this world class exhibit. We have both traveled and visited museums in many countries, but this exhibit impressed us to no end. The gallery spaces were much larger than I'd imagined, and the flow of the exhibit was perfect. The QR codes were a great idea! The people you pulled from all over, experts in their field, to talk about certain paintings was unbelievable!”
–Cindy Johnson, Visitor, San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara Art Museum

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