Van Gogh in America
|Waiting in line for the fabulous Van Gogh Exhibit at
the Detroit Institute of Arts.
|Huge murals of famous Van Gogh paintings are shown on the way into the exhibit.
Attendance on Saturday was at capacity, but the crowds were controlled by timed admissions.
|The selection of paintings and drawings was superb.
“Van Gogh in America is the first exhibition dedicated to the introduction and early reception of Vincent van Gogh’s art in the United States. The exhibition displays 78 works by Van Gogh, illustrating the efforts made by early promoters of his art—including the artist’s family—in America”
The DIA was the first American Museum to acquire a Van Gogh painting for its collection: exactly 100 years ago. In 1922, the city of Detroit purchased a self-portrait that he had painted in 1887. By this time, Van Gogh was widely appreciated in Europe, and his works were highly valued. However, the American art establishment was very slow to appreciate his incredible genius.
The exhibit documents how a few black-and-white newspaper articles and then the 1913 Armory Show in New York displayed some of his paintings, which didn’t find purchasers. A later exhibit, organized by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and others also featured Van Gogh paintings. Several of the works from this show by other artists such as Frank Stella and Paul Cézanne were in the DIA exhibit in addition to the Van Goghs,
The history of how the American museum-going public came to love Van Gogh and how other museums and other exhibits made his work more widely available was the main subject of the exhibit. The placards on the walls and other documentation also show how the legend of Van Gogh’s supposedly tormented life took over the public imagination, despite evidence that he was a thoughtful and painstaking draftsman and artist. This unusual approach to art history makes this exhibit different from most art exhibits I have seen, and I found it wonderful and fascinating.
Other Famous Works in the DIA Collection
|Diego Rivera’s interpretations of Detroit Industry are among his most impressive murals.
|The DIA also has a remarkable collection of puppets from the early 20th century.
This is a puppet of Cleopatra by Martin T. Stevens and Olga Stevens.
Only a few puppets are displayed at any one time, so Cleopatra was new to me.
Review © 2022 mae sander.