A major Van Gogh & Japan temporary exhibition in the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum is one of the top art events in spring 2018 in the Netherlands.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will add to its popularity with a special major temporary exhibition in spring 2018 on the influences of Japanese art on Vincent van Gogh’s work. This major international exhibition will bring together around 60 paintings and drawings by Van Gogh and a rich selection of Japanese prints. In addition to works from several museums in the Netherlands, this Van Gogh & Japan exhibition will include exceptional loans from private and museum collections from all over the world. Van Gogh & Japan will be on show in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam from 23 March to 24 June 2018 (and before that in various museums in Japan).
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Van Gogh & Japan Exhibition in Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will hold a special Van Gogh & Japan temporary exhibition from 23 March to 24 June 2018. This major exhibition includes around 60 paintings and drawings by Vincent van Gogh and a large selection of Japanese prints to show how Van Gogh’s admiration for Japanese art influenced his own work.
Van Gogh discovered Japanese ukiyo-e woodcut prints during his time in Paris (1886-88). Apart from his three paintings in Paris that were clearly inspired by Japanese prints, he explored the colors, compositions, perspective and attention to details from nature in many of his other works.
In his letters to his brother Theo, Vincent van Gogh often referred to the influence of Japanese art. He wrote that he learned to “see with a more Japanese eye” and that he made “paintings like Japanese prints.” He also described the South of France as “the equivalent of Japan”. (He had, of course, never traveled to Japan himself.)
Special Loans on Show in the Van Gogh & Japan Exhibition in Amsterdam
The Van Gogh & Japan exhibition will include exceptional loans from other museums and private collections.
Arguable the most notable work on loan is Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889 (The Courtauld Gallery, London), with a Japanese print painted in the background. This fragile work has not left the UK since 1955 and has not been in The Netherlands since 1930. (The Courtauld gallery will be closed in 2018 for major renovation works.)
Other loaned highlights include:
- Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, 1888 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA), in which Van Gogh painted himself as a Japanese Buddhist monk;
- Portrait of Madame Roulin (La Berceuse), 1889 (Art Institute of Chicago);
- Undergrowth with Two Figures, 1890 (Cincinnati Art Museum);
- La Crau with Peach Trees in Blossom, 1889 (The Courtauld Gallery, London);
- The Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux), 1888 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); and
- The Great Wave off Kanagawa, 1829-33 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) by Katushuka Hokusai.
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, will also show its own “Japanese” Van Gogh paintings including Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige), 1887, Courtesan (after Eisen), 1887, and Almond Blossom, 1890.
The ever-popular The Bedroom, 1888, painted in Arles, was also influenced by Japanese art with Vincent writing to Theo that he had “flattened” the interior and left out the shadows so it would resemble a Japanese print.
Van Gogh & Japan on Show in Japan and the Netherlands
The special Van Gogh & Japan exhibition is a collaboration of the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam with the Hokkaido Shimbun Press and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and three Japanese museums that will show the exhibition before its arrival in Amsterdam in spring 2018: the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Sapporo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (24 October 2017 – 8 January 2018), and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto (20 January – 4 March 2018).
Mesdag & Japan in The Hague
Simultaneously to Van Gogh & Japan, The Mesdag Collection in The Hague will show an exhibition about Mesdag & Japan (7 March – 17 June 2018), with a focus on the collection Japanese applied art, collected by Dutch painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag himself at the time he opened his museum in 1887.
The collection consists of more than 200 objects, ranging from Samurai swords to Satsuma vases. The Van Gogh Museum has managed The Mesdag Collection since 1991.
Tickets and Visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is with around 2.3 million visitors the most-popular museum in the Netherlands. Only fools queue up outside the museum without timeslot tickets, as it is simple to buy skip-the-line tickets online from various outlets including the museum itself, Tiqets and GetYourGuide, or as a combination tour with other sights and canal cruises.
Time-slot tickets give admission to both the permanent collection and temporary Van Gogh & Japan exhibition – once inside the museum building, visitors may see the exhibitions in any order.
Admission in 2018 to the Van Gogh Museum is €18 for adults – see also Visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam for more tips on buying tickets and how to avoid the crowds.
The Van Gogh & Japan exhibition will largely be at the same time in the Netherlands as Keukenhof is open in South Holland. Visitors will thus be able to combine very colorful nature with very colorful art.