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2015 marks exactly 125 years since the death of Vincent van Gogh. The painter still inspires many artists today. In memory of his life and work, many European countries are paying tribute to Van Gogh with unique exhibitions and celebrations.
The Van Gogh Europe Foundation – consisting of 30 museums, heritage sites and various organizations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands – has put together a comprehensive Van Gogh programme. This will be the first time that international institutions will work together on such a large scale to preserve the legacy of an artist. The Van Gogh Museum, the Kröller-Müller Museum, Van Gogh Brabant and Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture, are all behind this special initiative.
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of the artist’s work. To celebrate 125 years of Van Gogh, from 25 September, the museum will host the exhibition Munch : Van Gogh. A frequently asked question in the museum is “Where is The Scream?”. Many visitors are convinced that Munch’s work is by Van Gogh.
This is the first time that these two artists are united under one roof, bringing together more than a hundred works of art, including many masterpieces. Munch : Van Gogh explores the similarities and differences in the works of the two artists. The exhibition also reveals the influence of Van Gogh on the development of Munch.
Vincent van Gogh and the province of Brabant have very close ties. The painter was born and raised in this region and created his masterpiece The Potato Eaters (1885) here. You can still visit several locations in Brabant that have played a crucial role in his work and life, from the house where he was born in Zundert to the school where he took his first drawing lessons.
The Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch exhibits much of Van Gogh’s work. The Peasant Woman Digging (1885), from the museum’s own collection, is accompanied by works on loan from the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and from a private collection. In addition to Self Portrait with Pipe (1886), the display will include works from his Brabant period, such as farm houses, portraits of peasants and still lifes. A painting of the rectory in Nuenen also reveals the house of Van Gogh’s parents. The house also served as his studio for a while.
From 25 April, the Kröller-Müller Museum will present the exhibition Van Gogh & Co – Criss-crossing the collection. The work of Vincent van Gogh is compared to paintings by his contemporaries, such as Paul Signac, Bart van der Leck, Jan Toorop and Auguste Renoir. During his stay in Province, Van Gogh painted various nature motifs, including Cypresses with Two Female Figures (1889-1890). The slightly older Paul Cézanne painted a similar tableau in his La route vers l’étang (c. 1880).
The city of Mons is the 2015 European Capital of Culture – the perfect opportunity for this Belgian city to pay tribute to Vincent van Gogh. From 25 January – 17 May, the BAM (Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts)) will launch celebrations with a major exhibition entitled Van Gogh in the Borinage: The Birth of an Artist. Here you can learn more about Van Gogh's time in the Borinage, a region in Wallonia, and its influence on his life and work.
Paris is also preparing a number of events and exhibitions to honour the painter. A special room has been set aside at the Fondation Custodia to display Van Gogh’s work. The selection will include many impressive drawings and paintings, such as Worn Out, a drawing of a desperate character from his Parisian period, and Wheat, a colourful painting from his Arles period. There will also be walking tours to several important Van Gogh locations in the neighbourhood of Montmartre: including his brother Theo’s house and the cafés where Van Gogh met with other artists.