/ Becoming Van Gogh

5.9.2020 –31.1.2021

Vincent van Gogh: Windmills at Dordrecht (Weeskinderendijk), 1881. Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands. Photo: Rik Klein Gotink

In 2020, Didrichsen Art Museum will celebrate its 55th anniversary, which in the autumn will culminate with an exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh (1853 –1890). The heart of the exhibition will comprise a selection of drawings from the early years of the artist’s career that are on loan from the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. The two oil paintings featuring in the exhibition recall Van Gogh’s expressive power at the height of his artistic creativity: Finland’s only work by Van Gogh, Street in Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890, which is in the collection of the Ateneum Art Museum, and Self-Portrait, 1887, in the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum.

In the world of international art exhibitions, Van Gogh is definitely one of the most sought-after artists. His works have quite rarely been exhibited in Finland and Becoming Van Gogh is so far the most extensive collection of Van Gogh’s works to be seen in Finland and the first exhibition featuring solely works of art by Van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh: Boy with a sickle, 1881. Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands. Photo: Rik Klein Gotink

Becoming Van Gogh – Van Gogh’s formative years as an artist

Becoming Van Gogh shows the artist’s career in the early years, 1881–1886. The drawings tell about Van Gogh’s journey to becoming an artist, his preoccupation with drawing and his endeavours to put the world he observed onto paper. Central motifs include depictions of peasants and agricultural labour, the Dutch landscape with rural and urban scenes, as well as studies. Becoming Van Gogh exhibition will feature 39 drawings and one graphic from 1881–1886 as well as two oil paintings from 1887 and 1890.

Vincent van Gogh: Woman seated, 1882. Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands. Photo: Rik Klein Gotink

The drawings were created mostly in the Netherlands, where the artist lived during 1881–1885. The works on paper are views from various cities, Etten, The Hague, Nuenen and Paris, where the artist lived. Studies and portraits depict peasants and his inner circle of friends. The works tell about the itinerant, irregular life of a living artist who incessantly interpreted his immediate environment into his images. In some of the works, Van Gogh has merged water colours and gouache into the drawing.

Kröller-Müller Museum

The main drawings, graphic work and self-portrait on display in the exhibition are on loan to the Didrichsen Art Museum from the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. Like the museum established by Gunnar and Marie-Louise Didrichsenin in 1965, the Kröller-Müller Museum was also founded as the result of passionate collecting by private individuals. Helene Kröller-Müller (1869 – 1939) and Anton Kröller (1862 – 1941) accumulated a very important collection of modern art in the first decades of the 1900s. Helene Kröller-Müller was among the first to recognise Vincent van Gogh’s distinctive art. In 1935, she donated her collection to the state of the Netherlands and the museum was founded in 1938. The museum’s collection currently includes more than 90 Van Gogh paintings and more than 180 drawings, making it the second largest collection after the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The Kröller-Müller Museum is in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, Ottelo, some 70 km to the southeast of Amsterdam.


Extended museum opening hours during Becoming Van Gogh exhibition

Tue. 10–18, Wed–Thur 10–20, Fri–Sun 10–18

Becoming Van Gogh – admission tickets
€16 / €14 / Museum Card
Free admission for children under 18

Becoming Van Gogh – guided tours

Guided tour prices:
Tue–Fri €90, Sat–Sun €110
Max. 25 people/group