“Van Gogh in America”: Detroit welcomes the Dutch artist

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has been hosting one of the largest Van Gogh exhibitions of all time since October 2.


Van Gogh never saw America, but America did. And this new event, “Van Gogh in America,” gives the country a new opportunity to (re)discover this artist, as never before. After the Moma in 1935, this is the second time the country has had such a presentation of the Dutch painter’s works.


The exhibition reveals, among other things, the cultural rise of Van Gogh in the United States.


In 1922, the Detroit Institute of Arts became the first American museum to acquire a painting by the artist. At the time, Dutch Post-Impressionism was little known in the Americas, and the institution paid only 4 200 dollars (equivalent to about 75 000 dollars today) for a self-portrait. Today, paintings by the Dutch master go for tens of millions of dollars…


Exactly one century later, the anniversary of this purchase has given rise to a superb exhibition in Detroit.


A grandiose exhibition


“Van Gogh in America” presents 74 paintings and drawings, including five that already belong to the DIA. The rest were borrowed from numerous museums and private collections around the world. A rather complicated process in some cases, as the owners of these works of art find it difficult to part with their artistic “jewel” even for a few months.


When visitors come to museums, the first thing they want to see is their van Gogh,” explains DIA director Salvador Salort-Pons. “This is one of the largest exhibitions organized by a museum that is not the Van Gogh Museum“.


This exhibition aims to make visitors discover the evolution of Van Gogh’s style, through paintings, drawings and lithographs, self-portraits, still lifes, landscapes and other portraits…


The visit begins with Berceuse, an 1889 painting on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, depicting a woman in a chair, in yellow and green tones.



In addition to some of Van Gogh’s most famous works such as Self-Portrait from 1887, others are rarer and less well known to the general public. Like The Wounded Veteran, a dark and disconcerting black and white lithograph that depicts an old man with a blindfold over his eye, looking barely alive.



The exhibition’s curator, Jill Shaw hopes the collection will deliver to people another Van Gogh, beyond the immortalized image of the earless, tortured-minded painter.


His painting didn’t come from his mental health,” she says. “He was methodical and thoughtful.”




Featured photo : © Wikipedia / Detroit Institute of Arts

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