A blockbuster Vincent van Gogh exhibition of more than 60 works – most of which have never been shown in Australia – is opening at the National Gallery of Victoria next year.

Curated by Sjraar van Heugten, art historian and former head of collections at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Van Gogh and the Seasons will explore one of the most expressive and original artists of the late 19th century through the prism of the circle of life; birth, bloom, maturity and death, as seen in van Gogh’s depictions of nature.

Presented in partnership with Art Exhibitions Australia, the show opens on April 28 at NGV International as the gallery’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition for 2017.

It will feature works lent by leading international museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, which respectively hold the largest and second-largest collections of works by van Gogh in the world.

Approximately 40 paintings and 25 drawings will feature in the exhibition, which will be divided into sections devoted to each of the four seasons.

The exhibited van Gogh works depict the settings of many defining moments in the artist’s life: the Dutch region of Brabant, where van Gogh was born in 1853 and spent his early life; Arles, where the artist flourished creatively; Saint-Rémy de Provence, where he was treated for mental illness in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum; and Auvers-sur-Oise, where van Gogh committed suicide in 1890.

The NGV has also announced its full autumn/winter 2017 program. Other exhibitions of note include Brave New World: Australia 1930s, a look at a decade characterised by both despair and optimism, which begins with the Great Depression and ends with the Second World War. Another one to look forward to is Hokusai, a survey of one of Japan’s most influential artists, Katsushika Hokusai. “In 1909 the gallery had the astute foresight to purchase five works from Hokusai’s famous Thirty-six views of Mt Fuji series including his most iconic image, The Great Wave,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood. “These works were the beginnings of a legacy of Japanese art in Australia [and] we are pleased now to present a major exhibition of his work.”

Photography will also be celebrated in the NGV Festival of Photography, a large-scale survey showing a diverse group of artists that includes solo shows of work by William Eggleston, Bill Henson, Patrick Pound, Ross Coulter and Zoë Croggon.

“It's the largest display of photography in the NGV’s history,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood.

For full details on the NGV’s 2017 autumn/winter exhibitions, visit ngv.vic.gov.au.