Monday, May 9, 2011

Van Gogh at the Kroller-Muller

It has been a year since I visited the Van Gogh exhibition at the Kroller-Muller museum – first by myself on a rainy Queen’s Day holiday, when the museum was so quiet that it was almost a private viewing, then a few weeks later to share with Katie.

The timing was very fortunate. The museum’s normal Van Gogh collection – possibly the best in the world – was temporarily augmented by pieces from other museums and private collections for a special show. Even a year later, I’m at a loss for words to describe it, but here goes: Van Gogh was a really good painter, they had an awful lot of his paintings, and you could walk right up to them instead of standing on tip-toes in a crowd for a quick glimpse. It was terrific!

What did I know about Van Gogh beforehand? Only the basics:

He was a famous Dutch painter.

You must be a native of the Netherlands to correctly pronounce his name, which when said properly sounds like a cat having trouble with a hairball. (Van is easy... Gogh is tough!)

He was a sloppy shaver. Rather than just an occasional nick, he managed to cut off an entire ear.

Apparently a thrifty shopper, he bought his rye bread well past the “Best By” date... didn't mind a little mold.

I took photos of some of my favorite paintings – click here for a look at a few.

The Kroller-Muller museum isn’t all Van Gogh. They also have terrific works by Miro, Cezanne, Picasso and others. But trust me on this, and book your tickets: their Van Gogh collection alone is worth a trip to Holland.