24 June 2013
Van Gogh Museum is organising international symposium.
From 24 June until 26 June 2013 the Van Gogh Museum is organising an international symposium on Van Gogh's Studio Practice in Context to coincide with the exhibition Van Gogh at Work. Following the presentation of the scholarly publication Van Gogh's Studio Practice to Professor Hans Clevers, president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), there will be an opening lecture by the former director of the Van Gogh Museum, Sir John Leighton. During the symposium, twenty prominent researchers from the Netherlands and around the world will illuminate a range of subjects relating to Van Gogh, including his use of materials and the discolorations that have affected his work. Some of his contemporaries will also be discussed. The high level of interest that has been expressed in this international symposium underscores the Van Gogh Museum’s role as the leading knowledge institute for Van Gogh’s cultural heritage.
Opening by Sir John Leighton
On the afternoon of Monday 24 June, Axel Rüger, the current director of the Van Gogh Museum, will present the scholarly publication Van Gogh's Studio Practice to Professor Hans Clevers, president of the KNAW. This voluminous publication, which contains contributions by over thirty researchers, is the result of years of research on Van Gogh’s studio practice. The Van Gogh Museum spent eight years on this innovative, multidisciplinary study of Van Gogh’s life and working methods, in collaboration with its partner in science Shell and the Cultural Heritage Agency. The research findings also provided the basis for the exhibition Van Gogh at Work, with which the Van Gogh Museum is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.
After the presentation, Sir John Leighton, the former director of the Van Gogh Museum, will give the opening lecture on the impact of a number of the museum’s long-term research projects and the ways in which they have helped to place the artist and his work in a fresh perspective.
Use of materials
At the symposium, twenty researchers, including art historians, conservators, and scientists attached to various Dutch and international institutions, will give lectures on diverse aspects of the artistic practices of Van Gogh and some of his contemporaries. Subjects will range from 19th-century artists’ materials to Van Gogh’s views of artistic craftsmanship, from copies made after his own work to Van Gogh’s use of materials. Speakers will discuss topics such as the discoloration of certain red and yellow pigments, as a result of which, for a large proportion of Van Gogh’s oeuvre, the colour combinations we see are not those originally intended by the artist. In addition, leading American computer technologists will present their research on counting the threads in Van Gogh’s canvases, which helps to reconstruct the large rolls of canvas that the artist ordered from Paris, to mount on his stretchers in the south of France.
The scholarly publication Van Gogh’s Studio Practice (in English), presenting the results of the research project, is published by Mercatorfonds in partnership with Yale University Press (ISBN 978-0-300-19187-5).