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‘Van Gogh in America’ Comes Alive in Detroit

Van Gogh in America at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)—running now through January 22, 2023—is the largest-scale Van Gogh exhibition in America in a generation, featuring paintings, drawings, and prints by Van Gogh from museums and private collections worldwide. Visitors will also "journey" through the defining moments, people, and experiences that catapulted Van Gogh's work to widespread acclaim in the U.S.

Featuring more than 70 works by the famed artist—including Starry Night (1888), on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris—the groundbreaking exhibition is the first ever devoted to Van Gogh's introduction and early reception in America.

Starry Night—also known as Starry Night Over the Rhône—is one of two iconic paintings including the nighttime sky that Van Gogh created while living in the French city of Arles from 1888 to 1889. The beloved work captures a clear, star-filled night sky and the reflections of gas lighting over an illuminated Rhône River in Arles with a couple strolling along its banks in the foreground. Starry Night is important to the introduction of Van Gogh's work to the U.S. for its pivotal role in the iconic film Lust for Life (1956; directed by Vincente Minnelli). The masterpiece will be on view in the U.S. for the first time since 2011, and is one of three Van Gogh works on loan from the Musée d'Orsay for the DIA exhibition.


Van Gogh in America reveals the story of how America's view of Van Gogh's work evolved during the first half of the 20th century and his rise to cultural prominence in the U.S. Despite his work appearing in over 50 group shows during the two decades following his American debut in the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art (commonly known as the Armory Show), it was not until 1935 that Van Gogh was the subject of a solo museum exhibition in the U.S. Around the same time, Irving Stone's novel Lust for Life was published, and its adaptation into film in 1956 shaped and began to solidify America's popular understanding of Van Gogh.

Van Gogh in America also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the DIA becoming the first U.S. museum to acquire a Van Gogh painting—his Self-Portrait (1887).

A full-length, illustrated catalogue with essays by the exhibition curator, Jill Shaw, and Van Gogh scholars will accompany the exhibition. Groups are also able to take advantage of an audio tour.

Van Gogh in America is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and is part of the Bonnie Ann Larson Modern European Artists Series.

Learn more by visiting Detroit Institute of the Arts.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

Photos courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts. 


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