July 29, 2015, is the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death. This past spring I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams by taking a trip to Europe to follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps. As a teenager I checked out every library book about Van Gogh, and eventually read the unabridged three-volume set of letters he wrote to his brother, Theo. With so much time having passed, I was eager to see if anything from Van Gogh’s time had survived.
Posts tagged ‘Vincent van Gogh’
For the fourth year running, MoMA visitors who pass through the Museum’s film entrance during the days leading up to Halloween are treated to an iconic modern-art masterpiece—in seasonally appropriate pumpkin form. This year, in celebration of the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition, the knife-wielding crazies at Maniac Pumpkin Carvers have “cut out” a beautiful interpretation of Matisse’s Blue Nude.
Instantly recognizable and an iconic image in our culture, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night is a touchstone of modern art and one of the most beloved works in the Museum’s collection. It draws thousands of visitors every day who want to gaze at it, be instructed about it, and be photographed next to it—yet few viewers are familiar with the story behind this unlikely masterpiece, executed during a tumultuous period in the artist’s life.
In this column I have often discussed the efforts made by the Department of Painting and Sculpture to circulate works in our collection galleries as frequently as we can manage, thereby showing the broadest possible range of our extensive holdings. All of our works are historically significant in their own way; still, we do recognize that there are dedicated audiences for certain landmark acquisitions made by the Museum, and so there are a few works that remain on view indefinitely. Les Demoiselles D’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso, The Starry Night (1889) by Vincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory (1931) certainly all fall into this category.
The tragically unrequited love, the driving need to be accepted as a serious artist, the longing for success that never quite came (he sold only one painting during his lifetime)—most people are just as familiar with the story of Vincent van Gogh‘s life as they are with his art. Full of thick strokes and rich colors, van Gogh’s paintings express his passion and pathos. His many self-portraits show him to be sad or dispirited. Aware of his struggles, we are drawn into his paintings. The reality he captures is one we want to experience.
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