Looking at van Gogh, 125 Years Later

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

125th anniversary of van Gogh’s death commemorated.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art is “Van Gogh: Irises and Roses,” which gathers together four still lifes that van Gogh painted in a single week in May, months before his death. AMSTERDAM — The great-grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh and other members of his family are among those planning to lay a wreath on van Gogh’s grave as part of the 125th anniversary commemoration of his death on Wednesday. The event will be part of an afternoon ceremony in Auvers-sur-Oise, the French village just northwest of Paris where van Gogh spent the last 70 days of his life and killed himself at age 37. It may be melodramatic to ascribe a somewhat suicidal quality to the synthetic red lakes, but they did self-destruct, which reverberates with van Gogh’s death by his own hand barely three months later, and it’s worth noting that he could have chosen more lasting reds.

After the wreath-laying, visitors will explore the town of Auvers, and the locations of some of van Gogh’s most famous paintings, including “The Wheatfield With Crows,” “Daubigny’s Garden” and “Portrait of Dr. Born in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands, on 30 March 1853, he died at the age of 37 in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise on 29 July 1890, reputedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A 335-meter long cycling itinerary organized by Van Gogh Brabant takes visitors though five towns and cities, featuring sites like the school he attended in Tilburg and Etten-Leur, where his parents lived. Not surprisingly digital technology is also used by the organizers, Susan Alyson Stein, a curator in the Met’s European painting department, and Charlotte Hale, one of the museum’s painting conservators, to present their findings via two short sleek slide shows. Appearing on monitors facing the paintings, the digital images take us beneath the works’ surfaces, magnifying molecules of color, and into their pasts.

At the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., is “Van Gogh and Nature,” an exhibition of more than 40 paintings loaned from American and European museums. Mons (mons2015.eu) is one of this year’s European Capitals of Culture, and the year-long celebrations are incorporating a number of Van Gogh-inspired events to coincide with the anniversary. Amsterdam is home to the Van Gogh Museum (00 31 20 570 5200; vangoghmuseum.nl; €17), which houses the world’s largest collection of the painter’s works, including iconic pieces such as Sunflowers (1889) and Irises (1890). Other events in Europe scheduled to commemorate the anniversary include the creation of a monumental portrait made of about 50,000 dahlias, in Museumplein in Amsterdam. This exhibition will be the first to focus on the similarities between the two artists, both known for their emotionally charged artwork and innovative styles.

Ace Cultural Tours (01223 841055; aceculturaltours.co.uk) has a special Van Gogh-themed four-night itinerary departing on 27 October in the company of art historian and lecturer Colin Bailey. Van Gogh moved to the French city of Arles in 1888, which resulted in a prolific period of creativity that produced some of his most celebrated paintings.

He originally had plans to create a retreat for other artists there but it turned sour during a visit from Paul Gauguin when Van Gogh suffered a mental breakdown and cut off his own left ear. Open from now until the end of December, a 1km cycle path inspired by Van Gogh’s iconic Starry Night has been created by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde. In 1889 Van Gogh voluntarily commited himself for psychiatric treatment at the Saint-Paul de Mausole (00 33 4 90 92 7700; saintpauldemausole.fr) institution in St Rémy-de-Provence and spent almost a year there, where he painted works including Starry Night.

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