Van Gogh letters to go on display in Amsterdam

17th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Over 100 letters and sketches will be displayed in the Van Gogh Museum; the largest ever exhibition of the artist's letters.

The Hague -- About 120 original letters by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh will be exhibited, alongside the works he was writing about, for three months from October, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam said on Tuesday.

"The combination of more than 340 works...including paintings, drawings, letters and letter sketches offers a multifaceted and penetrating view of Van Gogh as letter writer and as artist," the museum said in a statement.

"Van Gogh's own writing and his intimate sketches allow the visitor to look over the artist's shoulder, as it were."

This would be the largest exhibition to date of Van Gogh's letters, which are seldom shown in public due to their fragility and sensitivity to light. Most are addressed to his younger brother and backer, Theo.

The exhibition, said the museum, would allow visitors to "witness his dreams and disappointments, friendships and fights, the battle against his illness and his all-consuming passion to create art able to withstand the test of time."

The museum owns more than 800 of the 902 letters known to have been written by the Dutch Post-Impressionist master. They will be published in book form shortly.

Van Gogh was born in Groot-Zundert, North Brabant on March 30, 1853. Before he turned to painting at the age of 27, he worked as an art dealer's apprentice and a preacher. He moved to Paris in 1886, where he was influenced by impressionist painters.

Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris on July 29, 1890, at the age of 37, two days after going to a field and shooting himself in the chest.

He had recently moved to the town after spending months at a mental hospital in southern France where he famously cut off a piece of his own ear following an argument with friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin.

AFP / Expatica

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