“Van Gogh is dead, but the van Gogh people are alive. And how alive they are! It’s van Gogheling everywhere”, wrote Ferdinand Avenarius in “Der Kunstwart” in 1910 to describe the fascination Vincent van Gogh’s paintings held for artists in Germany – particularly the younger ones – in the early twentieth century. This country playes a key role in the Dutch painter’s posthumous success story. Thanks to the dedication of Germany gallery owners, critics and museum directors, less than fifteen years after his death – and thus earlier than in other countries – he was perceived here as one of the most prominent precursors of modern painting.
At the core of the exhibition “Van Gogh and Germany” will be a selection of major paintings by the Dutchman, which will enter into dialogue with works by Germany’s early twentieth-century avant-garde. Alongside well-known examples by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gabriele Münter and Max Beckmann, the show will also highlight artists meriting rediscovery – painters on whom van Gogh had an equally formative influence –, for example Peter August Böckstiegel, Maria Slavona or Heinrich Nauen. The project’s chief aim is to contribute decisively to a better understanding of artistic developments in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century, while also shedding light on van Gogh’s role as a key figure for the art of German Expressionism.
Illustration: Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1887, Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands © Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands
Supported by Franz Dieter und Michaela Kaldewei Kulturstiftung