From: Denver Art Museum Limited Edition: 47 Exhibition: Becoming van Gogh Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl Dimensions: 30" x 89" (76cm x 226cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
The Denver Art Museum (DAM) owns no van Goghs! So how did Timothy Standring, curator of painting and sculpture, manage to assemble 70 of the artist's works for its exhibition, Becoming Van Gogh. It took seven years of planning, 100,000 miles of air travel, 427 letters, 3,500 email messages, countless Skype and cellphone calls, and about $3 million. Standring said, "You have to be prosecutor, defense attorney, psychologist, sociologist and diplomat to do this kind of show."
The exhibition examined the 10 year career of van Gogh--from struggling neophyte to master craftsman--that ended abruptly with his death at age 37. Self-portrait With Straw Hat (1887), which appears on the banner used to promote Becoming van Gogh, was one of seven works lent by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Getting someone to lend you a multimillion dollar painting can be a herculean effort. It took seven years of planning, 100,000 miles of air travel, 427 letters, 3,500 email messages, countless Skype and cellphone calls, and about $3 million for Timothy Standring, curator of painting and sculpture at theDenver Art Museum (DAM), to bring together 70 paintings for Becoming Van Gogh. In fact, Standring was competing for Van Goghs with a joint venture between the National Museum of Canada and the Philadelphia Museum of Art for their exhibition, Van Gogh: Up Close, that focused more narrowly on the artist’s nature paintings. DAM’s exhibition had unique appeal though, for it was a retrospective journey through van Gogh’s personal development as an artist during the 10 years that he created art before his death. Still, Standring said the Art Institute of Chicago turned down seven of his requests to borrow Grapes, Lemons, Pears, and Apples (1887) before they agreed to the loan.
Becoming Van Gogh borrowed from 40 institutions and private collections from throughout Europe and the U.S. and featured 70 works by the artist. The exhibition also displayed 20 paintings by artists who inspired van Gogh, such as Camille Pissarro, Emile Bernard, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Becoming Van Gogh did not include Starry Night, Sunflowers or any versions of The Bedroom. Instead, it includes the phases of van Gogh’s career that are less familiar like his colorless, self-taught moments in the years before he moved to Paris in 1886, some of his self-portraits, and works painted in his last year of life. In Paris, living with his brother Theo, van Gogh studied color theory but avoided the “prettified paintings” of the Impressionists. He learned the Pointillism techniques of the Neo-Impressionists like Georges Seurat and Paul Signac and his canvasses soon were covered with characteristic flicks and dabs. Self-portrait With Straw Hat was one of 22 self-portraits van Gogh painted during his two years in Paris. The deep shadows, tight mouth, and haunted gaze from one blue and one green eye are indicative of his deteriorating health. Van Gogh thought himself a working man’s artist, thus the straw hat and work clothes of a peasant laborer.
Self-portrait With Straw Hat appears on the banner used by DAM to promote the exhibition. At the top on a yellow background are the words "Becoming Van Gogh" and below the image "World Exclusive" appears in capital white letters on a red background. At the bottom, the "Denver Art Museum" typographic logo is on a yellow background. Both sides of the banner are identical
This banner was displayed in Denver between October 21, 2012 and January 20, 2013 to promote the exhibition, Becoming Van Gogh. The exhibition was exclusive to the Denver Art Museum.