The Vincent van Gogh collection arrives at the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Painter Vincent van Gogh died over 130 years ago, but his work still captures the imagination of people around the world.
Soon, many will focus their attention on Minnesota, where a collection of van Gogh art will be on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
“It’s a big deal, and it’s exciting,” says the institute’s content strategist Alex Bortolot. “Rarely, if ever, do you have five, actually six van Gogh works on this ‘Olive Groves’ series, all in one place at once.”
The exhibition will be a homecoming for the ‘Olive trees’ of the museum.
This painting has been on loan since October 2021 to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Dallas Museum of Art.
“I think it’s wonderful,” exclaims Amy Kulseth, a contemporary Blaine painter. “It’s going to be great to see a Van Gogh painting in person. You see all these paintings online and you don’t have a good idea of the composition, the layers, the brush strokes.
“He was clearly fascinated by the appearance of these subjects,” adds Bortolot. “The olive groves of southern France literally changed shape and color hour by hour.”
But it will not be a solitary act.
The institute also acquired – on loan from these museums in Amsterdam and Dallas – five other paintings by Van Gogh from his stay in the south of France in mid-to-late 1889.
“Normally, you would have to jump on a plane and travel to two different continents to see these works, so having them all together is really special,” notes Bortolot. “Probably a once in a lifetime event.”
The exhibit, titled “Van Gogh and the Olive Groves,” will also include rough sketches.
It will be located in a specially equipped gallery.
Experts say Van Gogh is still a huge draw more than a century after his death.
The paintings will be exhibited alongside other artists of the time, such as Gaugin, Monet and Degas.
Kulseth says Van Gogh is really special.
“The colors he uses are beautiful,” she says. “The complementary colors he uses are really some of the most admirable things to me about him, seeing how he uses his color.”
Bortolot says that Van Gogh suffered from mental illness.
He believes the continued appeal of his works is partly tied to our own stressful times.
“As a human being, he’s a hugely attractive person who, like many of us, has been through tough times,” notes Bortolot. “But he had this strong creative drive that produced these beautiful works of art.”
Records show that Van Gogh was very prolific during his lifetime.
Between the age of 27 and his death at 37, Van Gogh produced over 900 paintings and over 1,100 drawings.
Some of these works are worth millions.
“He is an incredibly talented painter. His paintings are beautiful,” says Bortolot. “And yet he was largely unrecognized in life. He was not recognized when he was alive, but he has become a celebrity in the art world and beyond today.
He also says that researchers find that Van Gogh was much more methodical in his painting technique, not rushing to get an image onto a canvas.
However, Bortolot also says that he sometimes put the finished paintings outside in the sun, to speed up the drying process.
“New photographs actually reveal his fingerprints on some of these paintings,” he says. “So he was handling these paints while the paint was still hardened. We have photomicrographs showing the ridges of his fingerprints on the webs themselves.
Kulseth says his own work was influenced by Van Gogh – that, and learning about his troubled life.
An incredible talent, not fully recognized during his lifetime.
“I think his escape was art,” Kulseth says. “It’s a way he dealt with things, but seeing his art evolve and change was really – I think it was super interesting.”
Tickets for “Van Gogh and the Olive Groves” will go on sale to the public on June 13.
They are already on presale to contributing members of the museum.
The exhibition opens on June 25 and will continue until September 18.
You can find out more about the exhibition here.