CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Van Gogh: fields

Exhibition: 23 February - 18 May 2003

From the museum website

The Toledo Museum of Art, in a partnership with the Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany, is proud to present Van Gogh: Fields, a tightly focused exhibition of works by renowned 19th-century Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh.

This is the first exhibition solely to address the artist’s painted renderings of one of his most cherished themes, the representation of the field in its many guises. The exhibition, consisting of 22 paintings and 5 drawings and watercolors, takes as its point of departure important paintings in the collections of the two participating institutions, Bremen’s Field of Poppies and Toledo’s Wheat Fields with Reaper, Auvers. The Toledo Museum of Art will be the exhibition’s only North American venue.

Aiming to consider comprehensively the scope and character of this particular focus within Van Gogh’s work, examples have been purposely selected from each phase of the artist’s career: his initial activity in The Netherlands in the early 1880s, his years in Paris, and his stays in Arles, Saint-Remy, and Auvers-sur-Oise until his death in July 1890.

The significance that the field had for Van Gogh is central to the exhibition’s intent, and the degree to which his mind was rooted in the cycles of nature, from sower to reaper, will be considered. So too, stylistic issues associated with the artistic possibilities of his approach to landscape will be explored, from the perspective effects of depth to the accentuation of the canvas surface.

Arguably one of the most widely known artists in the world, Van Gogh’s stature justifiably continues to grow as more is learned about the man and his art. While his career spanned only a decade, between the ages of 27 and 37, Van Gogh created one of the most important legacies of painting and drawing ever to enrich the world. For Van Gogh all visible phenomena seemed to be endowed with a physical and spiritual vitality. His striking use of color and remarkable technique of thickly applying paint exalted and even immortalized what he chose to depict.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, Red Vineyard at Arles which is now in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, and was little known to the art world at the time of his death. Afterwards, however, his fame grew rapidly. More than a century after his death, Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) has become a legend, and his paintings are icons in the popular imagination.


English edition: Wulf Herzogenrath and Dorothee Hansen, translated from the German by Elizabeth Clegg, Van Gogh: fields: the “Field with Poppies” and the artists’ dispute, Ostfildern-Ruit (Hatje Cantz) 2002.
ISBN 3-7757-1131-7.

German edition: Wulf Herzogenrath and Dorothee Hansen, Van Gogh: Felder: das Mohnfeld und der K√ľnstlerstreit, Ostfildern-Ruit (Hatje Cantz) and Bremen (Kunsthalle Bremen) 2002.
ISBN 3-7757-1130-9.

Other venue

Bremen, Kunsthalle (19 October 2002-16 January 2003).