011208: Albertina: Van Gogh

Albertina: Van Gogh Genius, unravelled Today nobody can imagine, what the art critic Berta Zuckerkandl complained about on February 1, 1900: “The Albertina has its own sweet secret – the museum has a Dürer exhibit. Insiders only know this well kept secret, and only by coincidence do art lovers find out. It was not published anywhere. Why should such an internal affair as the presentation of Dürer’s hand drawings be publicized! It is sufficient if the director, the custodians, and a handful of art critics know about this exhibit.” How the times have changed! This time we are not dealing with Dürer – he had his turn in 2003 – but with Vincent van Gogh. And: One can really learn something from this exhibition. It focuses on the correlation of van Gogh’s drawings with his paintings – or – as the text on the wall reads: “The principle of drawing as the basis of the entire oeuvre”. Van Gogh was 27 when he started his autodidactic career by drawing. During the first three years of his only ten years as an artist, he concentrated on drawings, influenced by English and French graphic art theory. Already at that time he created a series of autonomous works, which play an important role in his oeuvre. In 1886 van Gogh joined his brother in Paris, where he discovered that the dark colours of his paintings seemed anachronistic compared to those used in Impressionism. His palette became more colourful and his lines more impressionistic. In 1888, first in Arles, later in Saint-Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, his paintings become something like the “practice material” for his drawings, whose coarse and rather drab style was transformed into colourful paintings – and vice versa: Van Gogh created paintings based on drawings and then again composed drawings based on these paintings. He took great care regarding the transformation of tones into colours and colour planes into graphic elements (and vice versa). The effect is interesting: on the one side we have paintings, created during his last two and a half years, which are dominated by expressive colourful lines, and on the other side the respective graphics and drawings, which unravel van Gogh’s genius. They show how much work and thoughts were invested in the new artistic solutions. And it is exactly this, which raises his drawings onto the same level as his paintings – something, which, however, does not really come as a surprise in a graphics museum. Albertina 1010 Vienna, Albertinaplatz 1, until 08.12.08 www.albertina.at

1010 Wien, Albertinaplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 534 83 -0, Fax: +43 1 533 76 97
Email: info@albertina.at
Öffnungszeiten: Tägl. 10-18h, Mi 10-21 h

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