The Van Gogh Museum reflects on a successful 2019 with high visitor ratings for the exhibitions Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature and Van Gogh and the Sunflowers, reaching 1 million Instagram followers, unique acquisitions, a new main sponsor and once again, more than 2.1 million visitors from 108 different countries.
Earlier this year, the major exhibition Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature attracted nearly 360,000 visitors, of which 137,000 were Dutch. This was therefore the most popular exhibition with Dutch visitors ever at the Van Gogh Museum, which contributed to all tickets to the exhibition selling out more than two weeks before it ended. In addition, the summer exhibition Van Gogh and the Sunflowers received one of the highest visitor ratings ever. More than 8 out of 10 visitors rated the exhibition as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. As 2019 comes to a close, the Van Gogh Museum has the highest visitor ratings ever.
Most visitors from the Netherlands
The Van Gogh Museum welcomes nearly 6,000 visitors a day, and the museum is becoming increasingly popular amongst Dutch visitors in particular: this year’s largest group of museum visitors, more than 16%, were from the Netherlands. The Van Gogh Museum also reaches an increasing range of groups including (vulnerable) elderly people, young adults and those with a physical disability, through programmes such as Van Gogh Meets (slower and guided museum visit for elderly), Vincent on Friday and Feeling Van Gogh. The museum remains popular with young visitors: more than 11% of the museum visitors are under 18 years old.
Most engaged online fan base
Van Gogh also remains a source of inspiration outside of the museum’s walls: in February 2019, the Van Gogh Museum became the first museum in the Netherlands to reach the milestone of 1 million Instagram followers. On all social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the number of engagements doubled to more than 24 million compared to the previous year. The Van Gogh Museum also has the most engaged fan base in the entire international museum world: a clear illustration of Van Gogh’s sustained popularity with the public.
The Van Gogh Museum also reflects on highlights in 2019 including The Arrival of Spring LIVE on Museumplein, which featured a live performance by Remy van Kesteren, a life-sized mural at Skatepark NOORD inspired by Van Gogh, and numerous new acquisitions including a large number of prints by Pissarro, paintings by Denis, Caillebotte and Münter and a significant letter by Van Gogh. In addition, the Van Gogh Museum and the Drents Museum recently acquired the painting Peasant Burning Weeds (1883): the first Van Gogh painting which the Van Gogh Museum purchased since 1977. Several of these works were displayed in an exhibition marking the departure of Axel Rüger, who left the museum after 13 years as Director. Managing Director Adriaan Dönszelmann has been acting Director ever since, and Emilie Gordenker will start as the new Director of the Van Gogh Museum on 1 February 2020.
Other highlights included the new sponsor ASML, which became the Van Gogh Museum’s new main partner for a period of five years, the great public interest in the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience in Port Vell, Barcelona’s old harbour – which attracted 161 000 visitors – and inspirational collaborations with brands including Beddinghouse and Identity Games (Monopoly). Earlier this month, the museum also announced a collaboration with fashion and lifestyle brand Daily Paper: a collection inspired by the life and work of Vincent van Gogh will be available from February 2020.
Now on display and coming up in 2020
The exhibition Jean-François Millet: Sowing the Seeds of Modern Art is currently on display at the Van Gogh Museum (until 12 January 2020). The museum is looking forward to 2020, which will see exhibitions including In the Picture and Van Gogh’s Greatest Letters. The new Director of the Van Gogh Museum, Emilie Gordenker (the current Director of the Mauritshuis), will start on 1 February 2020. Opening on 21 February, her first exhibition in charge will be In the Picture, which uses some 75 works to explore the role and significance of the artists’ portrait.
The Mesdag Collection
The Van Gogh Museum Foundation took over management of The Mesdag Collection in The Hague in 1990. In 2019, the exhibition Mesdag & Colenbrander – and its unique design – were warmly received by the public, and the exhibition Jean-François Millet and the Hague School (on display until 5 January) is, in part thanks to the Millet exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, hugely popular. From 13 March 2020, the museum will be turning its attention to the Italian painter Antonio Mancini, in the extensive exhibition Mancini: Eccentric & Extravagant.