Throughout his career, Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890) attempted the paradoxical task of representing night by light. His procedure followed the trend set by the Impressionists of “translating” visual light effects with various color combinations. At the same time, this concern was grafted onto Van Gogh’s desire to interweave the visual and the metaphorical in order to produce fresh and deeply original works of art. These different artistic concerns found themselves powerfully bound together in Van Gogh’s nocturnal and twilight paintings and drawings. This exhibition will present new insight into Van Gogh’s depictions of night landscapes, interior scenes, and the effects of both gaslight and natural light on their surroundings. Representing all periods of the artist’s career, the exhibition will comprise over two dozen works of superlative quality—several of which have never been seen together, even though they were very clearly conceived with each other in mind. This exhibition will be shown at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, February 13–June 7, 2009. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Organized by Joachim Pissarro, Adjunct Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art; Sjraar van Heugten, Head of Collections, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; and Jennifer Field, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art.
The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.