World-class collection of prints at Van Gogh Museum

World-class collection of prints at Van Gogh Museum

From 2 February to 23 September 2012, the Van Gogh Museum will present the exhibition Beauty in abundance: Highlights from the print collection of the Van Gogh Museum. Approximately one hundred important prints from the museum’s permanent collection will be on display, by artists including Bonnard, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec. This exhibition shows one of the world’s finest print collections and marks the publication of the first major study of this collection, Printmaking in Paris. The rage for prints at the fin de siècle.

In the years 1890 to 1905, Paris was swept by a craze for prints. Almost all French artists of the time experimented with lithography, etching or woodcuts as an artistic medium. Marvellous and often colourful works of art were the result. The artists behind this printmaking craze were contemporaries and friends of Vincent van Gogh. But the print revolution did not reach its height until after Van Gogh’s death in 1890.

The Van Gogh Museum holds a significant collection of more than 1,300 prints that illustrate the printmaking of this period in its full glory. Following in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo, the museum collected prints from its earliest years, albeit on a modest scale. The acquisition of a major collection of approximately 1,000 fin de siècle prints in the year 2000 greatly expanded the print collection, making it highly comprehensive and cohesive. As a result, the Van Gogh Museum’s print collection is now among the world’s finest. Over the past eleven years, this collection has been enriched with important series and proofs.

The masterpieces on paper in the museum’s exceptional print holdings have rarely been exhibited in the past, because of their fragility, and have never before been described in such detail. The book and the exhibition thus offer a unique opportunity to discover these hidden treasures. Artists like Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, Steinlen and Toulouse-Lautrec will be represented by limited-edition prints, as well as mass-produced illustrated theatrical programmes, sheet music, books and their world-famous posters.

Since the year 2000, the Van Gogh Museum’s print collection has been the subject of intensive ongoing research. The book Printmaking in Paris and the exhibition Beauty in abundance are the first two tangible results of this multi-year research project.

The print collection is the property of the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, which also finances the research. In the years ahead, thanks to support from the Vincent van Gogh Foundation, the museum will devote more attention to these unique holdings and make them more accessible to the public.

Beauty in abundance: Highlights from the print collection of the Van Gogh Museum.
2 February – 23 September 2012
Open daily 10.00–18.00, Fridays 10.00–22.00

Van Gogh Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 7, 1071 CX Amsterdam

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