September 22, 2019

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Van Gogh at ARKEN: the first major exhibition dedicated to his art in Denmark

1 September, 2018

Vincent van Gogh

From 1 September 39 works by Vincent van Gogh are on view at ARKEN.

The special exhibition VAN GOGH focuses on the famous artist’s work, spirituality and view of nature.

It is the first major exhibition dedicated to Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in Denmark for more than 50 years.

On 23 December 1888, when Vincent van Gogh cut off most of his left ear during a psychotic episode, he was still entirely unknown as an artist. He had no idea that this violent action would help define the framework for the mythmaking that would later surround his life and art.
A less well known but quite crucial dimension in Van Gogh’s life, however, is his religiosity.

The divine in a blade of grass

Early in life Vincent van Gogh lost his faith in the church as an institution. Although he did not lose his faith in God. He was convinced, in fact, that he could do good deeds by creating beautiful paintings.

Through 28 paintings and 11 drawings ARKEN’s special exhibition VAN GOGH shows how Van Gogh, with his depictions of southern French wheat fields, sun-baked olive groves and Dutch harvest workers, wanted to express the divine in nature and in humanity. With vibrant brush strokes and energetic colours, he imbued even the smallest blade of grass with his very own understanding of spirituality.

Groundbreaking works

Van Gogh spent only ten years of his life as an artist, from 1880 until his death. During that short time, in intense, fervent works, he was able to develop an original visual language. One that expressed his personal, spiritual approach to nature and the creation of pictures.

By unfolding his subjective view of the profound spirituality of nature in painting, Van Gogh took pioneering steps towards the modern. Van Gogh’s works are at once deeply personal and have a huge, universally human appeal.

The first major Van Gogh exhibition for 50 years

It is more than 50 years since it was last possible to see a major Van Gogh exhibition in Denmark. All 39 works in ARKEN’s exhibition are on loan from the Dutch Kröller-Müller Museum’s unique Van Gogh collection, with exception of only one.

For the exhibition a richly illustrated catalogue is being published, in which a variety of gazes – from the researcher’s to the author’s – offer insight into Van Gogh’s visual world.

Van Gogh contextualized

Alongside VAN GOGH, ARKEN will be showing an exhibition named Starry Nights. The exhibition presents works from ARKEN’s collection that draw lines from Van Gogh’s art to the art of our own time, and which overflow with references to the hidden spiritual dimensions of nature.


Top Image: Vincent van Gogh, The sower, 1888. Coll. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo


1 September, 2018
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ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst
Skovvej 100
Ishøj , 2635 Denmark
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