A fascinating exploration of the introduction of Vincent van Gogh’s work to the United States one hundred years later
Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) is one of the most iconic artists in the world, and how he became a household name in the United States is a fascinating, largely untold story. Van Gogh in America details the early reception of the artist’s work by American private collectors, civic institutions, and the general public from the time his work was first exhibited in the United States at the 1913 Armory Show up to his first retrospective in an American museum at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1935, and beyond. The driving force behind this project, the Detroit Institute of Arts, was the very first American public museum to purchase a Van Gogh painting, his Self-Portrait, in 1922, and this publication marks the centenary of that event.
Leading Van Gogh scholars chronicle the considerable efforts made by early promoters of modernism in the United States and Europe, including the Van Gogh family, Helene Kröller-Müller, numerous dealers, collectors, curators, and artists, private and public institutions, and even Hollywood, to frame the artist’s biography and introduce his art to America.Essays and contributions reveal new research findings as well as a comprehensive account of the early reception of Van Gogh’s work in the United States, a topic that that has been remarkably understudied. This groundbreaking exhibition catalogue is published by the Detroit Institute of Arts and distributed by Yale University Press.
Following an introduction by Jill Shaw, general editor of the catalogue and Head, The James Pearson Duffy Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and Rebecca A. Boylan and Thomas W. Sidlik Curator of European Art, 1850–1970 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, five scholarly essays and an illustrated chronology of key events shape the story.
Chris Stolwijk, General Director RKD–Netherlands Institute for Art History/Professor of History of Dutch Art in an International Context, 1800–1940, Utrecht University, and Julia Krikke, Research Assistant, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, examine the reception and appreciation of Van Gogh in Europe around 1900 and how nationalist ideas impacted the way in which his work was presented in America through early publications and exhibitions; the discussion includes a comparative study of the art market in America for Van Gogh and other “modern” Dutch painters.
Susan Alyson Stein, Engelhard Curator of Nineteenth-Century European Painting, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, provides a rich discussion about the first collectors and showings of Van Gogh’s work in New York and on the East Coast more broadly, concentrating on the tremendous efforts of Jo van Gogh-Bonger (sister-in-law of the artist who inherited his collection following the death of her husband, Theo) to promote the work in America.
Joost van der Hoeven, Researcher, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and Roelie Zwikker, Senior Researcher, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, present the efforts among Dutch owners of Van Gogh’s works—especially those of Vincent Willem van Gogh, nephew of the artist who inherited the artist’s collection after his mother Jo’s death in 1925, as well as collector Helene Kröller-Müller, who amassed the second largest collection of works by Van Gogh in the world—to exhibit and promote the artist’s works in America, particularly in conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Jill Shaw,Head, The James Pearson Duffy Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and Rebecca A. Boylan and Thomas W. Sidlik Curator of European Art, 1850–1970 at the Detroit Institute of Arts, discusses the leading role of Midwestern collectors, art organizations, and museums—with an emphasis on Detroit and Chicago—to advocate for Van Gogh’s work in ways that at times surpassed efforts on the East Coast.
Rachel Esner, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Amsterdam, explores the reception of Van Gogh’s work on the West Coast—especially in San Francisco and Los Angeles—and considers the impact of the filmic image of Van Gogh on the American imagination as well as the popularity of collecting his work by the Hollywood elite.
Dorota Chudzicka, Assistant Curator of Modern European Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, presents an illustrated chronology of key events that are pertinent to the story of Van Gogh in America beginning in the first decade of the twentieth-century and up to the artist’s first American museum retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in the mid-1930s.
Hardcover, 256 Pages, 144 color + b-w illus., 10 x 11 in.