Van Gogh in the City of Brotherly Love

Posted by Troy Petenbrink
February 2, 2012 8:43 AM |

Image 2.jpgThe Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday premiered a new exhibition of artwork by one of history's most intriguing artists: Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh Up Close is described by the museum as a daring and innovative collection of works that broke with the past and dramatically altered the course of modern painting. Made between 1886 and 1890 in Paris, Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers, the works in the exhibition concentrate on an important and previously overlooked aspect of van Gogh’s work: “close-ups” that bring familiar subjects such as landscape elements, still lifes, and flowers into the extreme foreground of the composition or focus on them in ways that are entirely unexpected and without precedent. These landscapes and still lifes have not previously been seen together or identified before as critical to our understanding of van Gogh’s artistic achievement.

The exhibition includes major loans from museums and private collections in Europe, North America, and Japan, and will be seen in the U.S. only at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, through May 6, 2012, before traveling to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

More than 70 works are featured, including 46 paintings by van Gogh and more than 30 comparative works such as Japanese woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige and Hayashi Roshü; European prints and drawings by Jean Corot, Camille Pissarro, and Jacob Ruisdael; and photographs by Frederick Evans, August Kotzsch, and others.

Van Gogh Up Close is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and will offer a wide range of programs, including a lecture on the artist by exhibition co-curator Joseph J. Rishel; a conversation about the legacy of van Gogh with a panel of contemporary artists; a film series; and a lecture and book signing with Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, co-authors of the recent biography Van Gogh: The Life (February 12, 2 p.m.).

Van Gogh Up Close explores an important facet of van Gogh’s work that underscores his importance as a path-finding modern artist,” comments Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “In seeking to share the intensity of his emotional response to the world around him as directly as possible, van Gogh took the traditional methods making pictures and changed the rules.”

Tickets at $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, $20 for students, and $12 for children ages 5 to 12.  Advanced tickets can be purchased online.

Hotel Packages and Amtrak Discount

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is offering four exclusive hotel packages that combine a premier overnight experience with tickets to the post-Impressionist feast for the eyes at the Museum, as well as 25% off in the Museum Store, and a special celebratory van Gogh dessert in the Museum’s Stephen Starr-operated Granite Hill restaurant.

Rail travelers planning a trip to Philadelphia to see Van Gogh Up Close can purchase discounted tickets, by visiting Reservations must be made at least three days in advance. Limited availability; blackout dates and other restrictions apply.

Philadelphia ranks in the top 20 leisure destinations in the U.S. for gay travelers according to Community Marketing, Inc.'s 16th Annual LGBT Tourism Survey. Detailed information on visiting gay-friendly Philadelphia is available at

Photo: Sunflowers, 1887. Vincent Willem van Gogh, Dutch, 1853 ‑ 1890. Oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches (43.2 x 61 cm), Framed: 26 1/4 x 33 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (66.7 x 85.1 x 6.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund.

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