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Van Gogh's influence on Norman Cornish

Find out more about the influence of Van Gogh on Norman's work.

As a member of The Spennymoor Settlement Sketching Club, Norman was able to borrow authoritative books about famous and influential artists. Men of talent but limited resources were thus able to access the outside world via the medium of print.

In March 1950, an Arts Council exhibition in Anfield Plain displayed many reproductions of images by van Gogh. The exhibition also included works by the members of the Sketching Club, including eight original works by Norman Cornish.

Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night was painted from memory, in daytime, during a difficult period in his life. Norman Cornish’s Starry Night is experiential, based on walking the Pit Road every day, for some 30 years or more, at varying times of the night and day, and in all seasons of the year. Talking to a group of children many years ago, Norman described his experience on the pit road:

‘A gust of wind blew raindrops into my eyes and my vision became a blinding flash of light. When my eyes cleared, I began to see the scene differently. The lights looked like stars in the sky.’

Cornish Centenary

Throughout the centenary year, an interesting range of themed exhibitions is planned in order to commemorate Norman’s life and to celebrate his work.

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