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Visitors Flock to First-Ever Exhibition Devoted to Van Gogh’s Still-Lifes

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Still Life with a Plate of Onions, 1889, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands

Last week the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, welcomed the 100,000th visitor to its exhibition Van Gogh: Still Lifes. With a representative selection of 27 works, the show illustrates the role played by his still life paintings in the artist’s development. Ortrud Westheider, director of the Museum Barberini: “There has never been an exhibition dedicated to still life by Van Gogh before. We are delighted that our focus has been inspiring so many visitors with this new take on his art. We advise anyone who still wants to see the show to book tickets online in advance. As we only have six rooms for this exhibition, numbers have been limited to ensure that all our visitors enjoy their experience to the fullest.”

Altogether 390,000 visitors came to the Museum Barberini in 2019 to see the exhibitions on Picasso’s late work, Baroque masterpieces in Rome and the still life paintings by Van Gogh.

The exhibition Van Gogh: Still Lifes, put together by Michael Philipp, the Chief Curator at the Museum Barberini, which can still be seen until 2 February 2020, surveys the artist’s entire œuvre, from his early studies in dark, earthy tones produced between 1881 and 1885 to the brightly hued still lifes with fruit and flowers painted during his final years in Arles, Saint-Rémy and Auvers.

Michael Philipp explains: “He made the still life genre an experimental arena to try out painterly techniques and potential. His reaction to Impressionism, which Van Gogh was able to witness in Paris, is reflected in the still life paintings, as is his response to the influence of coloured woodcuts from Japan. What we can observe particularly by looking at his still lifes is the way he evolved an ever greater freedom and intensity in his use of colour.”

Following the Van Gogh exhibition, the Museum Barberini will be showing Monet: Places from 22 February to 1 June 2020. With over 100 works, this will be the biggest Monet exhibition in Germany to date. From 27 June until 11 October 2020, the exhibition West Meets East. The Orient in the Work of Rembrandt and His Dutch Contemporaries will look at how the great master himself and other painters of the Dutch Golden Age reflected non-European cultures and explores their image of the Orient. In autumn the Museum Barberini will launch the exhibition Impressionism in Russia (7 November 2020 to 28 February 2021). This event will demonstrate the international quality of the Impressionist style adopted by artists around 1900, showing how it also became a springboard for avant-garde painters like Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov and Kazimir Malevich. The exhibition integrates Russian artists into the project of European Modernism.

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