Van Gogh and the colours of the night
13 February 2009 - 7 June 2009
Van Gogh and the colours of the night is a unique exhibition of paintings by Vincent van Gogh evoking the atmosphere of the evening and night. The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
"Gain new insight into one of the 19th century’s most influential artists with this unprecedented exhibition" (New York Times)
Van Gogh and the colours of the night is the first exhibition to be devoted to Van Gogh’s representations of the evening and night, a theme which recurs throughout his oeuvre. Famous works from international collections in the exhibition include The starry night (MoMA), Eugène Boch (Musée d’Orsay), a series of three sowers against a setting sun (of which one from the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection) and The potato eaters (Van Gogh Museum).
Energy and inspiration
From early on Vincent van Gogh was fascinated by the mood conjured up by the evening and the night. Van Gogh regarded the evening and night as a time for self-reflection and creativity, particularly for looking back over the day's events. As such he loved to work during this hours of twilight and darkness, drawing from them energy and inspiration. When he decided in 1880 to become an artist, twilight and the night gained a fixed place in his oeuvre.
Arranged around the themes Landscapes at twilight, Peasant life at evening – ‘Les Paysans chez eux’, The voice of the wheat and Poetry of the night, the exhibition shows how Van Gogh immortalized the twilight and the night on paper and on canvas.
From painterly tradition to modern art
Van Gogh particularly associated the nighttime hours with a feeling of security, solace and the poetic. At the same time he was not immune to night’s darker side, when one can be overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness and despair. But Van Gogh was above all attracted by the landscape at twilight, thereby linking up with a longstanding painterly tradition. Evening and nighttime landscapes have for centuries been a well-loved theme, and were also strongly represented within the Barbizon School that Van Gogh so admired and initially imitated. After a number of years, however, Van Gogh began updating the genre through his striking use of colour and rhythmic brushstrokes. With his distinctive style he blazed the trail for modern art.
Van Gogh and the colours of the night with contributions by Sjraar van Heugten, Joachim Pissarro, Chris Stolwijk and others. Van Gogh Museum/The Museum of Modern Art/ Mercatorfonds, 160 pages, 115 illustrations, in English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Italian. Price € 24.95 (paperback), available in the museum shop, via www.vangoghmuseumshop.com and in quality bookstores. Hardcover edition published by Amsterdam University Press, available in quality bookstores, price € 29.95.
Admission fees and opening hours
During Van Gogh and the colours of the night an extra charge of € 2.50 applies. There is no extra charge for children from 0 to 17 years. The admission fees include a free audiotour of the exhibition. Extended opening hours until 22.00 apply from Thursday to Saturday. Advance ticket sales via www.vangoghmuseumtickets.com (€ 3,50 booking fee applies per ticket).
The tickets will be sold per time slot and are also valid for the museum’s permanent collection. Visitors can enter the museum during the time slot indicated on the ticket. Once inside, visitors are welcome to stay until closing time. Per time slot only a limited number of tickets is available for sale at the museum's cash desk.
The audio tour for Van Gogh and the colours of the night is included in the entry price and available in six languages: English, Dutch, German, French, Italian and Spanish. The audio tour will introduce you to Van Gogh's paintings of the evening and night. Get in the mood and listen to this fragment.
Unfortunately guided tours are not permitted in the exhibition wing during Van Gogh and the colours of the night. More on guided tours in the museum.
The exhibition has been compiled by Joachim Pissarro (Adjunct Curator, Department of MoMA, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Galleries) and Sjraar van Heugten (head of Collections of the Van Gogh Museum).
The exhibition was displayed from 21 September 2008 to 5 January 2009 in The Museum of Modern Art, New York.