In early December, Fine Art Tourist traveled to Detroit for the unique opportunity to see 74 pieces in an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Vincent Van Gogh. This show features Van Gogh works from museums and private collections around the world.
While Detroit in December is not ideal, Van Gogh is our favorite artist (we are not alone there obviously) and this exhibition is at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) for just two months. This exhibition will not appear anywhere else in the United States.
The DIA was the first museum in the United States to purchase a painting by Van Gogh (Self-Portrait (no. 7)) at an auction in New York City in 1922. This exhibition entitled Van Gogh in America, commemorates the hundred-year anniversary of that acquisition. Today, the DIA has six Van Gogh paintings in its permanent collection.
It is difficult to imagine today, but Van Gogh’s work was not popular in the United States until many years after his death in 1890. The first public display of his work in the United States did not take place until 1913 (New York City, Boston and Chicago).
By the late 1920’s Van Gogh’s work had grown popular in the United States. A number of his works were included in an exhibition at the opening of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1929. Subsequently, a number of museums in the United States acquired Van Gogh paintings. Curiously, in addition to the DIA, a number of mid-western museums were early purchasers of his paintings. These included the Art Institute of Chicago, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City).
In this post we are not going to delve into the life of Vincent Van Gogh. There are numerous excellent books available about his tumultuous life and spectacular art. We have included several of our favorites at the end of the post if you are interested in learning more about his personal life and his development as an artist.
We have included below 30 of our photographs taken at the Van Gogh in America exhibit. The paintings included are presented in chronological order. It is fascinating for us to see how dramatically his paintings change in regard to brushwork and color over his short ten year painting career. The majority of the paintings are from late in his career when, despite his illness, he was incredibly productive.
Detroit Institute of Arts: https://dia.org/
- Self-Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas
- La Berceuse, 1889, Oil on canvas
- Portrait of Camille Roulin, 1888, Oil on canvas
- L’Arlesienne, Madame Ginoux, 1890, Oil on canvas
- Adeline Ravoux, 1890, Oil on fabric
We hope you enjoyed seeing these works by Van Gogh as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Be seeing you!
Van Gogh, an Appreciation of his Art – Gerhard Gruitrooy: Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters – Edited by Leo Jansen, Hans, Luijten and Nienke Bakker: Van Gogh, His Life and His Art – David Sweetman