“Van Gogh Up Close” exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia, PA

February 1st, 2012 by

Almond Blossom. Photo: courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

February 1, 2012 – May 6, 2012

Van Gogh Up Close, a major exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Canada, presents a group of the artist’s most daring and innovative works that broke with the past and dramatically altered the course of modern painting. Made between 1886 and 1890 in Paris, Arles, Saint – Rémy, and Auvers, the works in the exhibition concentrate on an important and previously overlooked aspect of van Gogh’s work: “close-ups” that bring familiar subjects such as landscape elements, still-lifes, and flowers into the extreme foreground of the composition or focus on them in ways that are entirely unexpected and without precedent. These landscapes and still-lifes have not previously been seen together or identified before as critical to our understanding of van Gogh’s artistic achievement.

The exhibition will feature over 70 works, including 45 paintings by van Gogh and more than 30 comparative works such as Japanese woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige and Hayashi Roshü; European prints and drawings by Jean Corot, Camille Pissarro, and Jacob Ruisdael; and photographs by Frederick Evans, August Kotzsch, and others. Van Gogh was an avid collector of Japanese and European prints and drawings by artists whose aesthetic devices served as sources of inspiration for him. While van Gogh was loudly dismissive of photography, the medium offers intriguing parallels with his work and it is possible that van Gogh would have been fascinated by contemporary landscape photographs.

Van Gogh Up Close explores an important facet of van Gogh’s work that underscores his importance as a path-finding modern artist,” comments Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “In seeking to share the intensity of his emotional response to the world around him as directly as possible, van Gogh took the traditional methods making pictures and changed the rules.”

Van Gogh Up Close includes major loans from museums and private collections in Europe, North America, and Japan, and will be seen in the United States only in Philadelphia (February 1 – May 6, 2011) before traveling to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog and will offer a wide range of programs, including a lecture on the artist by exhibition co-curator Joseph J. Rishel; a conversation about the legacy of van Gogh with a panel of contemporary artists; a film series; and a lecture and book signing with Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, co-authors of the recent biography Van Gogh: The Life (February 12, 2 p.m.).

Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia PA 19101
Tel.: 215-684-7860

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