Van Gogh Museum visitors are presented with an inside look at the way Vincent Van Gogh worked. The exhibition, “Van Gogh at Work,” is the outcome of eight years of extensive research into Van Gogh’s methods, approach and techniques. It also marks the Amsterdam museum’s 40th anniversary.
Vincent van Gogh's sketchbooks — Photo courtesy of Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Foundation). Photography: Erik and Petra Hesmerg“[We] examined about 400 paintings and many, many drawings by Vincent Van Gogh and also looked at work by his contemporaries in order to get an idea of how exceptional, unique or traditional Van Gogh was in his practical choices, in his approach and in his working methods,” said Nienke Bakker, Curator of Exhibitions.
The exhibition, which features about 200 pieces, spans his entire career. Additionally, the show addresses several themes, such as the reuse of canvas, the creative choice of materials, how he mastered perspective, the collaboration with other artists, the use of color and experimentation with brush strokes.
“He was really making very deliberate choices in terms of materials, in terms of techniques, in terms of preparation of the canvas. He had a goal, and he was really setting out steps to get there,” said Bakker. “Of course, he was working very quickly, and sometimes it looks completely spontaneous, but it’s in fact well planned, and he was much more methodical than you would think from the first look.”
Sunflowers, 1889 — Photo courtesy of Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)Visitors are encouraged to come twice. Starting in the beginning of September, some of the art will be gradually swapped out due to the fragility of works and the duration of loans. For instance, the multiple versions of the Sunflowers will be replaced by another version of The Bedroom.
The bedroom, 1888 — Photo courtesy of Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)“This exhibition gives the opportunity to come back and see basically the same story with different works,” said Bakker.
The exhibition runs until January 12, 2014.