The potato eaters
“The potato eaters"have returned to Amsterdam. The famous dining room scene by Vincent van Gogh had been on loan to the Museum of Modern Art in New York between September and December 2008, along with other works from the Dutch collection. Amsterdam is now opening an exhibition entitled "Van Gogh and the colours of the night".
Dusk and night were phases of the day that interested Van Gogh (1853 - 1890). Not only because of the colours, which change in the light of the moon and stars. The artist was also inspired by the nightlife in the somewhat dingy streets and bars. In addition to the paintings and drawings, the exhibition also shows letters written by the painter, in which he writes about dusk and night. It is clear from these letters that Van Gogh found these moments of the day particularly enchanting. He wrote in one of his letters, dating from 1888, that "I often find the night more lively and colourful than the day".
Van Gogh Museum curator Sjraar van Heugten worked with the Museum of Modern Art to organise the exhibition. " They even have the wonderful starry night in St. Rémy," says Van Heugten, "They were trying to give it a context, but they didn't know exactly how. They came to consult us, because they also wanted to get some works on loan. Slowly but surely the idea of working together came up."
One thing led to another. The Van Gogh Museum came to New York to mount last year's exhibition, lending a lot of material. In return, the same exhibition can now be seen in Amsterdam. Alongside the museum's own collection, other famous Van Gogh works in the possession of other museums, such as the d'Orsay in Paris, the Menard Museum in Japan, the Kröller-Müller in the Dutch Hoge Weluwe park, and of course the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will also be on display.
The Museum in Amsterdam will offer something to the public that the New York exhibition did not have: a special introduction. Works by other painters inspired by dusk and night will be on display. "These are paintings that Van Gogh himself knew," explains curator Sjraar van Heugten, "We show that his work belonged to a certain artistic tradition.
The exhibition "Van Gogh and the colours of the night" is one of the main initiatives of the "Holland Art Cities" project. Leading museums in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht have joined forces to present an unprecedented art exhibition. The Van Gogh exhibition will run until 7 June 2009.
Photo credits: Van Gogh Museum