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125 Years of van Gogh Inspiration

Posted by Mary-Frances Walsh on 4/9/2015
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: River Cruise, Tauck, Travel, Amsterdam, Europe

In the Netherlands, Belgium and France, 2015 will be marked by a series of cultural events and unique exhibitions to honour the 125th year since the death of Vincent van Gogh. As a Tauck traveller, you’ll have opportunities to experience one or more of them on one of our European river cruises, or perhaps during a pre- or post-stay. Below are some of the highlights of “Van Gogh 2015,” as well as a bit about the artist’s life journey in places discoverable with Tauck.

About Van Gogh
selfportraitAmong the most famous of post-Impressionist artists, who were known for placing as much importance on the expression of emotion as on visual imagery, Vincent van Gogh ranks high. The Dutch artist lived to be only 37 years of age (1853 to 1890). He was in his late 20s, struggling with identity issues and working near Brussels as a pastor, when he decided to pursue life as an artist. He then moved to Paris where he learned from Impressionists like Pissarro, Monet and Gauguin, but went on to develop his own style of bold brushstrokes and vivid color combinations.

At the age of 33, van Gogh left Paris for Provence, where his works included exuberant bouquets of spring flowers, Provençal landscapes and colourful night skies. There In Arles, he hoped to share studio-life with fellow artists, but only Paul Gauguin followed him to southern France. So did van Gogh’s lifelong struggles with depression and eccentricities that led to the famed incident of a cut on his ear (after an argument with Gauguin) and a psychiatric hospitalization in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where he continued to paint under supervision.

Upon release, he headed to Auvers-sur-Oise, where in two month’s time he produced some 70 paintings before dying from gunshot wounds widely presumed to have been self-inflicted. Van Gogh knew poverty, hard work, and scant recognition for his remarkable artistic achievements – which included nearly 40 self-portraits. He sold only one painting in his lifetime, yet his work today is immensely famous and a source of inspiration to many.

Van Gogh 2015 Highlights:

keukenhofKeukenhof
Lisse, March 20 – May 17, 2015
Featured on: Belgium & Holland in Spring
A relative of Vincent, Willem van Gogh, presided over the 66th annual opening of the Netherlands’ floral showcase at Keukenhof, where more than 7 million flowers are now in full bloom. This year Keukenhof features a mosaic of tulips and hyacinths (2600-sq.-ft. large) planted in the image of a van Gogh self-portrait. And in a contemporary nod to van Gogh’s artistic creativity, Keukenhof’s new “Selfie Garden” presents images of guests floating among a floral exhibit in
yellows, whites and mirrors.


krollermullermuseumKröller-Müller Museum
National Park Hoge Veluwe, April 25 – September 27, 2015
Featured on: The Rhine and Moselle
Located inside the Netherlands’ largest national park, the museum holds over 200 works by van Gogh, including many of his most famous works. Van Gogh & Co: Crisscrossing the Collection will present more than 50 paintings and sketches, comparing his work with that of his contemporaries during various periods in his life.


thecafepaintingVan Gogh Museum
Amsterdam, September 24, 2015 – January 17, 2016
A choice of museum featured on: The Rhine and Moselle
The highly respected Munch Museum in Oslo and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have collaborated on Munch: Van Gogh, for a first-time look at the “kindred” artists, Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh. Opening first in Oslo and later, in Amsterdam, the exhibit will share more than 100 works by the two artists – both known for their highly emotional works, innovative personal styles, and lives that knew the meaning of hardship.


weavershandsMusée d’ Orsay

Paris, Permanent Collection
Featured on: Normandy, Brittany, Paris & The Loire Valley
With the largest collection of van Gogh’s works outside of the Netherlands, the museum’s collection is mainly from his French period and focuses on van Gogh’s artistic development between his time in Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise.

Musée des Beaux-Arts
Mons, January 24 – May 17, 2015
Featured on: Belgium & Holland in Spring
About 50 miles from Brussels, Mons is the capital of a neighboring Belgian province and today, headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe. Here, in a district known as the Borinage, van Gogh took his first serious steps as an artist.
Van Gogh in the Borinage: The Birth of an Artist
features 70-odd
works that passionately captured the difficult lives of local farmers, miners and weavers.


And finally, the Van Gogh Museum’s recommended “must sees” in their Amsterdam collection:

The Potato Eaters, 1885 – although not viewed favorably by critics in the day, the painting emphasizes the harsh realities of rural life in northern Europe in the late 19th century

The Bedroom, 1888 – painted in the Arles’ Yellow House, where van Gogh expressed hopes to work side-by-side with fellow artists and that painting in simple, bright colours would bring him comfort

Sunflowers, 1888 – painted in Arles in hopes of impressing Paul Gauguin, who had not yet joined him at the Yellow House

Wheatfield with a Reaper, 1889 – painted while van Gogh was a patient in Saint-Rémy; he saw it as a symbol of the eternal cycle of nature

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 – painted in Auvers-sur-Oise; its menacing gloom may have predicted van Gogh’s despairing frame of mind

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