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Van Gogh + Munch

Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition entitled “Van Gogh + Munch” today. The Dutch and Norwegian artists share a number of common traits.


On its website, the Munch Museum writes:

“Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) and Edvard Munch (1863–1944) are two distinctive and influential artists. Both created art with a strong emotional content expressed via a personal and innovative style, and both lived troubled lives. […] Yet despite these obvious common traits, which have been underscored time and again in art history and art criticism since the end of the 1800s, the more profound connections between the two artists have never been thoroughly illuminated in the context of an exhibition.

The exhibition ʻVan Gogh + Munch’ will for the first time explore the similarities and connections between these two artists.... The exhibition will encompass approximately 75 paintings and 30 works on paper, including about ten comparative works by other artists.” 

Norwegian-Dutch opening ceremony

Upon their arrival at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Queen Sonja and Princess Beatrix were greeted by the sisters Birgitte and Karoline Grimstad, who gave them flowers. In the Festival Hall, Mayor of Oslo Fabian Stang welcomed the guests before the directors of the Munch Museum and the Van Gogh Museum, Stein Olav Henrichsen and Axel Rüger respectively, introduced the exhibition.

The curators, Magne Bruteig and Maite van Dijk, explained about the exhibition in greater detail, following a musical interlude by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Queen Sonja and Princess Beatrix undertook the official opening by unveiling a plaque bearing Van Gogh and Munch’s portraits.

Turning point

According to the Munch Museum website, “Paris became a turning point for both artists. A confrontation with the new art trends liberated the potential they harboured within while simultaneously challenging them to formulate their own programme.”

“Although their works may be different with regard to motif and implementation, they were both preoccupied with giving expression to the condition of modern man, and they accomplished this by pressing painterly means to the utmost: a vibrant palette, a highly stylised idiom, personal and bold brushwork and unconventional compositions are characteristic of them both.”

Lengthy collaboration

The exhibition is the culmination of a lengthy collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Munch Museum.

Both museums are among the world’s leading monographic museums, dedicated to the life and work of a single artist.
The Munch Museum is home to the world’s largest Munch collection, with over 28 000 works. The collection also includes personal items, art tools and photographs taken by the artist. Edvard Munch himself created the basis for this collection, bequeathing all his works of art to the City of Oslo.

Similarly, the Van Gogh Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s works, comprising paintings, drawings and letters. The collection also includes works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries that highlight his art and influence.

The exhibition will remain on display in Oslo until 6 September, when it will be moved to Amsterdam.



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