Ottawa exhibit to showcase Van Gogh’s love of nature


For the first time in more than 25 years, a Canadian art institution is featuring Vincent Van Gogh in a major way.

“Van Gogh’s profound love of nature has often been taken for granted, but has rarely been studied,” said National Gallery of Canada director Marc Mayer.

The beloved Dutch artist will be given the summer spotlight at the gallery in a unique exhibition titled Up Close with 45 paintings from public and private collections.

Ottawa will be the show’s only Canadian stop.

“It’s always a tough endeavour because these are paintings that are rarely lent, that are very much liked by the public, so museums don’t part with them very easily,” said assistant curator Dr. Anabelle Kienle.

Nature is explored by examining Van Gogh’s use of close-up views in works such as Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, Wheat Field with Sheaves, and Tree Trunks in the Grass.

The Iris is one of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings, and is permanently housed at the National Gallery.

The exhibit runs May 23 to Sept. 3, 2012, and large crowds are expected.

“I’m always stunned how many people know Van Gogh, I mean he seems to be a household name. And we associate him often with his mental illness,” said Kienle.

Van Gogh died in 1890 at age 37 in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, after shooting himself in a wheat field where he had been painting.

The exhibit will highlight his experimentation with depth of field, focus, and zooming in.

“We’re showing Van Gogh as a very deliberate thinker, someone who really thought through what he was doing, and so it will open people’s eyes to a new perspective on Van Gogh,” said Kienle.

The exhibit is organized by the National Gallery and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The guest curator for Up Close is Dr. Cornelia Homburg, who worked at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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