The exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo.
David Brennerman and Piet de Jonge
Museum press release, August 2004
The High Museum of Art will be the only museum in the Southeastern United States to host an extraordinary exhibition of 84 well-known but rarely lent masterpieces by 19th and 20th-century masters, including Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, and Piet Mondrian drawn from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Holland. Van Gogh to Mondrian: Modern Art from the Kröller-Müller Museum will be on view at the High Museum of Art from October 19, 2004—January 16, 2005. Co-organized by the High Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum, this exhibition marks the first time in history that an American exhibition has been drawn exclusively from the esteemed Dutch museum founded by patron Helene Kröller-Müller. Van Gogh to Mondrian is sponsored by UBS, the global financial services leader.
With a significant group of some 20 paintings and drawings by Vincent van Gogh as the core of the exhibition, Van Gogh to Mondrian tells the fascinating story of one of the 20th century’s greatest patrons of modern art, architecture, and design. One of the most important promoters of modernism in Holland, Helene Kröller-Müller created a remarkable ensemble of paintings by the most significant figures of the early modern period, including Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Georges Seurat, and Vincent van Gogh. Working with leading Dutch modernist artists and architects in the 1910s and 1920s, Mrs. Kröller-Müller and her husband, Anton, envisioned a future museum where the public could enjoy and study the development of modern painting from Pointillism and Cubism to Neoplasticism.
“Partnering with international institutions to bring the highest caliber art to American audiences is an integral part of the High’s mission,” said Michael E. Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director. “The Kröller-Müller Museum’s interest in collaborating with us to bring these masterpieces to the U.S, some for the very first time, is extremely gratifying for the High and furthers our commitment to bringing some of the world’s most treasured art to the Southeast.”
Influenced by her relationship with noted art historian H.P. Bremmer, Helene Kröller-Müller’s educated eye and vast wealth provided the resources for creating a remarkable collection in a short time. Her interest in modern painting drew her to the leading Symbolist, Neo-Impressionist, and Cubist painters of the period. Kröller-Müller came to see art as evolving from 19th century Realism towards an increasing “idealism” of spirituality and inner clarity. An early devotee of van Gogh (1853-1890), she created the largest private collection of the Dutch artist’s works, ultimately owning more than 90 paintings and 185 drawings. The Kröller-Müller Museum’s van Gogh collection is second only to that of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in size and quality.
Van Gogh to Mondrian features a grouping of 12 major van Gogh paintings and 10 drawings from the Kröller-Müller collection. Of these, one has never traveled to this country (Self Portrait , 1887), and others were last seen in special loan exhibitions 50 or more years ago. This very significant selection of paintings includes iconic images such as The Café Terrace at Night (1888), Sorrowing Old Man (1890), and portraits of Joseph and Augustine Roulin. Piet Mondrian is represented in the exhibition with seven paintings spanning a period from 1913 to 1919 and reflecting key moments in the artist’s evolution. The exhibition also includes architectural designs and models of the Kröller-Müller Museum produced by Hendrick Petrus Berlage, Henry van de Velde, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as well as furniture commissioned by the Kröller-Müllers from Berlage and a magnificent stained-glass window designed by Bart van der Leck.
David A. Brenneman, the High’s Chief Curator and Frances B. Bunzl Family Curator of European Art, explains the rareness of the exhibition: “Van Gogh to Mondrian expresses the artistic view point of one particular collector, Helene Kröller-Müller, and her passion for accumulating one of the most comprehensive collections of van Gogh, illustrating the evolution of his work with high quality pieces such as The Café Terrace at Night, The Garden of the Asylum at Saint-Rémy, and a significant amount of his drawings.”
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring essays by co-curators David Brenneman, Chief curator and Frances B. Bunzl Family curator of European Art at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Piet de Jonge, Head of Collections and Presentations at the Kröller-Müller Museum, as well as by Nancy Troy, Chair of Art History at the University of Southern California, Dr. Marek Wieczorek, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Washington, and Wim de Wit, Head of Special Collections and Visual Resources and curator of Architectural Drawings at the Getty Research Institute. The catalogue will be available in hardbound and softbound forms.
Van Gogh to Mondrian: modern art from the Kröller-Müller Museum, Atlanta (High Museum of Art) 2004. ISBN 1-93254-301-5.
In conjunction with organizing the exhibition, the High has developed a website that will be devoted to Van Gogh to Mondrian. The site will feature extensive information on the artists represented in the exhibition, online ticketing, and information about planning a trip to the High. Visit the exhibition website.
In Atlanta, Van Gogh to Mondrian: Modern Art from the Kröller-Müller Museum is sponsored by UBS. Generous support is provided by BCD N.V., the Dutch Atlanta Sponsor. Additional support is provided by the Director’s Circle of the High Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.
Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle (29 May-12 September 2004)
Exhibition travel packages
The High Museum of Art and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau have partnered again to create special travel packages to visit Van Gogh to Mondrian this fall. Visitors to Atlanta will be able to book exclusive packages with a number of Atlanta’s top hotels by visiting www.atlanta.net/vangogh. Each package will include special VIP exhibition tickets, complimentary breakfast and parking with an overnight accommodations for two. These packages are perfect for the individual traveler or groups of all sizes.
The Kröller-Müller Museum, located in Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands, is home to an exceptional collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings, important Pointillist works, Cubist paintings by Picasso and Gleizes, and early works by Mondrian as well as a sculpture garden featuring modern outdoor sculptures. Opened in 1939, the Museum is a result of the unique vision of Mrs. Helen Kröller-Müller, the wife of a wealthy Dutch industrialist who began collecting in 1906 inspired by the lectures of dealer and modern art advocate H. P. Bremmer. Working with leading Dutch modernist artists and architects through the 1920s, the Kröller-Müllers developed a collection that illustrated the rise of modern painting from the late 19th century through the early 20th century.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. The Museum has two locations: the main facility is the critically acclaimed 1983 building designed by Richard Meier and situated in the heart of midtown Atlanta’s arts and business district. The High’s annex, the High Museum of Art Folk Art and Photography Galleries, is located in downtown Atlanta. The High has an extensive collection of 19th and 20th century American art; acclaimed collections of European, African and decorative art; and burgeoning collections of photography, folk art and modern and contemporary art. Due to the unprecedented growth the High has experienced during the past decade in exhibitions, community programming, and collection-building, the Museum is in the midst of a building expansion program as part of the overall upgrade of the Woodruff Arts Center. Designed by Renzo Piano, the expanded High Museum campus is scheduled to open in fall 2005. The High Museum of Art is a Division of the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which also includes the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the 14th Street Playhouse.
Also on View: A Feast of Color: Selections from the Noro Foundation
October 9, 2004 – January 23, 2005
A Feast of Color: Selections from the Noro Foundation, a spectacular exhibition of 20 paintings and two drawings that include rarely lent works by Picasso, Monet, and Pissaro is on view concurrently with Van Gogh to Mondrian at the High Museum of Art. Seven works have never before traveled to the United States. Highlights of the exhibition include: Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Flowers, 1901, Camille Pissaro, Rue de L’Épicerie, Rouen, 1898, Claude Monet, Fishing-Boats, 1885, and Vincent van Gogh, People Walking in a Park, Paris, 1886. The Noro Foundation’s collection includes Dutch and French Old Master, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist paintings and drawings. Flemish Old Master Drawings, sculptures, and Delftware and Chinese porcelain and pottery. The collection is the result of Mr. and Mrs. John Fentener van Vlissingen’s active collecting over a period of approximately 30 years. The selected works for the Atlanta exhibition originated in France and The Netherlands. A Feast of Color is sponsored by BCD, N.V.