Bedroom secrets

Restoration of a masterpiece

10 June 2011 - 24 January 2012 

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), The bedroom, 1888, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Vincent van Gogh FoundationThe painting The bedroom was restored in 2010 and briefly displayed before travelling to Japan. The presentation Bedroom secrets is all about the restoration and actually shows the bedroom itself,
in 3-D.

The bedroom, dating from 1888, is one of Vincent van Gogh's best loved works. It was painted in Arles where the artist lived. He selected his composition and the colours extremely carefully and his letters show that he was very pleased with the result. But right from the start, The bedroom had a great deal to endure. Even while Van Gogh was still alive, the painting was damaged.

Extensive restoration
Extensive restoration work was necessary in order to preserve this masterpiece for the future. During a fascinating process of discovery, every square millimetre of the painting was scrutinised. Distorted areas that had been painted over and discoloured varnish were removed. Old gaps in the painting, caused mainly by water damage in Van Gogh’s studio, were carefully repaired using stable materials. These can easily be removed if the work requires further restoration in the future.

Read all about the restoration process on the Bedroom secrets blog.

New intensity
The colours have gained a new intensity and the painting looks much clearer. It is now a much better reflection of the artist's original intentions and can once more be admired by the public.

The timelapse video below shows the transformation of the painting during the restoration.

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