Arts City: Van Gogh and the Seasons 2017

This morning I attended the media brief regarding the National Gallery of Victoria's Autumn/ Winter season for 2017. The program reflects a strong commitment to offer compelling and dynamic art experiences relevant to their diverse audiences. The National Gallery of Victoria in partnership with Art Exhibitions Australia will present our Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition for 2017, Van Gogh and the Seasons, in an Australian exclusive. Curated by Sjraar van Heugten, art historian and former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

NGV, WINTER/AUTUMN 2017 PRESENTATION MELBOURNE © ©NGV, WINTER/AUTUMN 2017 PRESENTATION MELBOURNE ©

NGV, WINTER/AUTUMN 2017 PRESENTATION MELBOURNE © ©NGV, WINTER/AUTUMN 2017 PRESENTATION MELBOURNE ©

Van Gogh knew well the role the seasons played in his artistic vision and how the changing landscapes acted as a constant and deeply profound source of inspiration. He wrote to his brother, Theo: "those with an eye for it see something beautiful and good in all weathers, find snow beautiful and burning sun beautiful and storm beautiful and calm beautiful, cold good and heat, are fond of all seasons and don't want to miss a single day of the year.

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890 Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies Paris, Summer 1887 oil on canvas 80.0 x 67.0 cm Netherlands, Triton Foundation © ©Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890 Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies Paris, Summer 1887 oil on canvas 80.0 x 67.0 cm Netherlands, Triton Foundation ©

The seasons had profound meaning for Van Gogh: they represented the circle of life within nature; birth, bloom, maturity and death. For the artist, this ongoing cycle represented the greatness of nature and the existence of a higher force. Van Gogh repeatedly painted scenes that richly evoke the sensory pleasures or deprivations particular to each season; spring-time, with its blossoming orchards and flowering meadows; summer, with fields of ripe wheat shimmering under the hot sun; autumn, with bountiful harvests and solitary figures sowing seeds as dusk approaches; and winter, with peasants digging potatoes out of frozen fields, or sharing a meagre meal by candlelight.

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890 Wheat Field with Cypresses Saint-Rémy, early September 1889 oil on canvas 72.5 x 91.5 cm The National Gallery, London © ©Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–1890 Wheat Field with Cypresses Saint-Rémy, early September 1889 oil on canvas 72.5 x 91.5 cm The National Gallery, London ©

The exhibited works will depict places that were the setting for many defining moments in the artist's tumultuous life; the Dutch region of Brabant, where Van Gogh was born in 1853 and lived for much of his early life; Arles, where the artist experienced his most defining period of creativity; Saint-Rémy de Provence, where he was treated for mental illness in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum; and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh committed suicide in 1890.

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Pine Trees against a Red Sky with Setting Sun 1889 oil on canvas 91.5 x 72.0 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum ©Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Pine Trees against a Red Sky with Setting Sun 1889 oil on canvas 91.5 x 72.0 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum

Van Gogh and the Seasons will feature works lent by leading international museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (which respectively hold the largest and second largest collections of works by Van Gogh in the world). It will feature approximately forty paintings and twenty-five drawings, presented within sections devoted to each of the four seasons. Additional documentary material, including works from Van Gogh's own art collection (such as Japanese woodcuts), will provide fascinating context and show the seasons as a subject of perennial interest to artists of many different cultures and eras.

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Orchard in Blossom, Bordered by Cypresses 1888 oil on canvas 64.9 x 81.2 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum ©Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Orchard in Blossom, Bordered by Cypresses 1888 oil on canvas 64.9 x 81.2 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum

The exhibition will invite viewers to contemplate Van Gogh's life and experiences through his observations of the seasonal changes within the natural world. Drawing extensively from Van Gogh's letters and from research into his deep interest in literature and nature, Van Gogh and the Seasons will explore the influences and themes that dominate much of this visionary artist's work. The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, a children's publication, a dynamic program of talks, tours and events and the curated NGV Friday Nights programs, featuring live music, food and performances.

Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Roses and Peonies 1886 oil on canvas 59.8 x 72.5 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum ©Vincent van Gogh Dutch 1853–90 Roses and Peonies 1886 oil on canvas 59.8 x 72.5 cm Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Kröller-Müller Museum

Development & Planning

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:00
The City of Melbourne's Boyd Park concept plan is a step closer to being realised with Melbourne City Council via its Future (Planning) Committee forum, endorsing the scheme and resolving to issue a Planning Permit.

Transport & Design

MCG redevelopment, Jolimont railyards, Fed Square East, Jolimont rail corridor deck
Friday, April 20, 2018 - 00:00
A topic which rears its head at least once a year is the decking of the Jolimont railyards as a means of providing a stronger connection between the Melbourne CBD and the Yarra River, while adding to the city's open space network.