On September 11, 1883, Vincent van Gogh arrived in the province of Drenthe. There he sought peace and reflection and new inspiration. The three months he spent in Drenthe became decisive for his development as a person and as an artist. On September 11, 2023, exactly 140 years later, the exhibition ‘On a journey with Vincent van Gogh in Drenthe’ will open at the Drents Museum. You can discover his story here until January 7, 2024. In addition, a collaboration to celebrate the “Rural Van Gogh” started this spring, with the reopening of the Van Gogh Village museum in Nuenen.
On a journey with Vincent van Gogh
Over the past eight years, the Drents Museum conducted extensive research into Vincent van Gogh’s Drenthe period. The exhibition On a journey with Vincent shows more than 20 works by Van Gogh ranging from paintings, watercolors and drawings as well as those by his contemporaries such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Jules Dupré, Jean-François Millet, Anton Mauve and Anthon van Rappard. The works come from museums and private collections from all over the world. This is the first time the museum has presented so many works from that era together.
One of these unique works is Landscape with a Farm (1883), a colorful watercolor that has been in the possession of a Canadian family collection for more than 40 years. In all that time, it has never been exhibited. Also on display are paintings, watercolors and drawings made by Van Gogh just before and after his time in Drenthe. The well-known correspondence with his brother Theo is also included in the exhibition.
Rural Van Gogh
From 2023, the provinces of Drenthe and North Brabant will put Vincent van Gogh in the spotlight. The focus will be on ‘Rural Van Gogh’ – his years in the Netherlands, his love of nature and his connection with the countryside. Van Gogh’s short and eventful life was characterized by a large number of moves to various places in Europe. Although his period in France is best known, he nevertheless spent most of his life in the Netherlands. North Brabant is the region where he lived longest and where he was formed as a person and an artist. There he developed his love for nature and landscape, struggled with his family, faith and feelings, started there as an artist and completed his first masterpiece here.
During his time in Drenthe, Vincent wrote letters about the impression the landscape made on him. Afterwards, the landscape, rough working-class life and playing with light always remained important themes in his work. That same landscape can still be admired in many places in North Brabant and Drenthe.
Activities in Drenthe and North Brabant
Besides the launch of the exhibition in September at the Drents museum, the renovated Van Gogh Huis Drenthe in Nieuw-Amsterdam/Veenoord, where the painter stayed during his time in Drenthe, will also open in October. In addition, signposted Van Gogh cycling and walking routes have been developed around Emmen, Hoogeveen and Zweeloo. The cycling and walking routes provide an illuminating picture of where Van Gogh drew his inspiration.
Earlier this year, on May 16, Queen Maxima opened the Van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen and the fifth Van Gogh National Park walking trail was opened in Helvoirt. Also in North Brabant, in Vincent’s birthplace Zundert, a tribute to Vincent’s stay in London will be paid this autumn with an exhibition by Saskia Olde Wolbers about her artist in residence project at Van Gogh House in London. This autumn, Van Gogh’s 150th anniversary of living there will be commemorated.
Besides a wide range of activities in Drenthe and North Brabant, 2023 is also the 50th anniversary year of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. You can read the full story about Vincent van Gogh’s period in North Brabant and Drenthe and his love for the landscape at holland.com/vangogh.