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Munch and Van Gogh in Amsterdam

Today, Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands participated once again in the opening of the exhibition Munch : Van Gogh, this time in Amsterdam.


The exhibition of works of these two remarkable artists was on display this summer at the Munch Museum in Oslo. Now, the turn has come to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Many similarities

Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch never met, but the two artists have much in common. Both were innovators who created emotionally intense paintings and lived troubled lives.

The exhibition explores these many parallels. For the first time ever, the paintings of the two artists will be displayed side by side for a Dutch audience – in the same manner that the exhibition at the Munch Museum in Oslo presented the artists’ work together in Norway for the first time. The Van Gogh Museum writes:

“In Munch : Van Gogh, the focus is on the parallels between two iconic artists. Their visions on life and art are closely related, despite the fact that they never met. Their work is colourful, intense, expressive and radical. Their lives are remarkably similar in many ways.”  

Painting with fire

There is no doubt that Munch admired Van Gogh:

“During his short life, Van Gogh did not allow his flame to go out. Fire and embers were his brushes during the few years of his life, whilst he burned out for his art. I had thought and desired, like he, not to allow my flame to become extinguished and with burning brush to paint until the end.” (Edvard Munch, 28 October 1933)

The exhibition displays several of the artists’ masterpieces, such as “The scream” by Munch and “Starry night over the Rhone” by Van Gogh.

Opening ceremony with royal attendance

The directors of both museums, A.C. Rüger of the Van Gogh Museum and Stein Olav Henrichsen of the Munch Museum, spoke during the opening ceremony. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the theatre group Toneelgroep Amsterdam performed as well.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Queen Sonja and Princess Beatrix were given a guided tour of the exhibition on display in the Kurokawa Wing.

Dutch-Norwegian 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 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.

Similarly, 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.

The exhibition will be on display in Amsterdam until 17 January 2016.


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