Van Gogh at Kröller-Müller
Or how to love a Van Gogh.
Among the things I am grateful about living in the Netherlands is my proximity to the presence of art greatness. The most beautiful works of masters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso, Breugel, among others, are just one bus or train away.
I’ve gone back to Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. But this time especially for Vincent Van Gogh. Beside the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Kröller-Müller has the second largest collection of Van Gogh art in the world (90 paintings and over 180 drawings). This museum is located in the heart of the Dutch national park De Hoge Veluwe so you can combine a trip nature and art visit in one day or one weekend. I would not suggest to do both both in a day.
The couple Anton and Helene Kröller-Mülle were one of Van Gogh’s first patrons, through his art teacher H.P. Bremmer who convinced them to buy his art. The personal connection gave them access to some of his most sentimental pieces. With these collections you can follow the development of Van Gogh’s style and state of mind, from his early years as a painter until his golden and perhaps most turbulent days in Arles France.
I can stand in front of a painting for many hours examining the details, the stroke, the colours. In this series of (very close up) photos, I’d like to show why I admire this Dutch master. You could feel his emotion in every stroke, in every line of his painting. Take for example this portrait of a woman:
You could almost touch her face and feel the lines running along her mouth and forehead. Her eyes carry so many emotions and Van Gogh was able to capture in such a simple portrait. It feels as if you are sitting right in front of her. The amazing thing about this painting is that, whether you are looking at it from the front or sideways, it always feels like she is looking straight back at you.
Perhaps my favourite Van Gogh is this one called Café Terrace at Night. Here Van Gogh painted the evening without using the colour black. It took me back to the few times I sat in a cafe in Paris, deep in the night, watching people go by. Again this is a very close up shot to show the details of the paintings. What’s more interesting about this painting is that it shows exactly the position of the constellation on the 15th and 16th of September 1888. Do notice the thickness of the yellow paint to highlight the lantern? Do you see the carriage in the background?
In this painting called Cypress with two figures you could feel the powerful strokes Van Gogh employed to breath life into the cypress trees.
You must have already seen The Starry Night and I think that this one called Country road in Provence by night was inspired by the same evening.
Van Gogh’s still life paintings made him popular all over the world. Who doesn’t know the Sunflower series? This one called Still life with meadow flowers and roses only proves how excellent Van Gogh is in mixing his colours.
But you only have to look at his earlier works to see where his heart lies. Peasants are Van Gogh favourite subjects, painting them in their daily lives in oftentimes dark portraits, influenced by another Dutch master Rembrandt.
I wish I spent more time looking at his portraits. But we were rushing to catch the autumn colours at De Hoge Veluwe. I am then saving them for the next visit.
If you want to see the Vincent Van Gogh Gallery at the Kröller-Müller Museum, the preview is posted online.
6731 AW Otterlo
+31 (0)318 591 241