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Travelling with Vincent – Van Gogh in Drenthe

  • 11 September 2023 till 7 January 2024
  • Drents Museum

Van Gogh in Drenthe

Never before has Vincent van Gogh's Drenthe period been the subject of a major exhibition. Travelling with Vincent takes visitors on Van Gogh's Drenthe adventure and follows his wanderings through the Drenthe of 1883. 140 years after Vincent arrived in Drenthe, as many works as possible from his Drenthe oeuvre can be seen together for the first time. Travelling with Vincent - Van Gogh in Drenthe can be seen in Assen from Monday 11 September 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024. 

On Tuesday 11 September 1883 - exactly 140 years ago, this year - Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) boarded the last train from The Hague to Drenthe. He stayed in Hoogeveen for a few weeks and then moved to Nieuw-Amsterdam and Veenoord, where he painted The Peat Boat and Peasant burning weeds, among other things. He also made a day trip to Zweeloo. His letters show that he produced a large number of works during his stay, but most of them have been lost. 

In addition to several dozen watercolours and drawings, only six paintings from the Drenthe period are known today. The work Peasant burning weeds, acquired in 2019 together with the Van Gogh Museum, is one of them. The exhibition Travelling with Vincent features more than 20 Van Goghs, as well as paintings, watercolours and drawings by sources of inspiration and contemporaries. 

Vincent van Gogh, Peasant burning weeds, Drenthe, 1883, oil on panel, 30,5 x 39,5 cm

Vincent van Gogh, The Peat Boat, Drenthe, 1883, oil on canvas on panel, 37 x 55,5 cm

Sprouting in the soil of Drenthe
The Drenthe period in Van Gogh's oeuvre is of great significance. During his journey through Drenthe, Vincent went through major developments as a person and an artist. There he had the time and space to reflect on his artistry and experiment with techniques. Travelling with Vincent shows work by the sources of inspiration he mentions in the letters to his brother Theo, such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Jules Dupré and Jean-François Millet. Contemporaries such as Anton Mauve and Anthon van Rappard are also represented in the exhibition. 

Van Goghs Drentse oeuvre travels the world
'Bringing together Van Gogh's Drenthe oeuvre has not been easy. The works are often fragile and scattered among collections in countries around the world or sometimes have unknown whereabouts.' Annemiek Rens, chief curator of the Drents Museum, is 'proud that we can present so many Drenthe paintings and drawings in Assen'. The exhibition comes about thanks to loans from a large number of museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, Kröller-Möller Museum, Rijksmuseum, Musée d'Orsay (Paris) and Museo Soumaya (Mexico City) and private lenders.

Unknown chapter written after 140 jaar years
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication in both a Dutch and an English edition, published by Waanders Uitgevers. In this book, Annemiek Rens delves into what for decades has been the least known chapter in Vincent van Gogh's well-known life story; the Drenthe period. The book also includes an essay by Jan van Zijverden (Drents Museum) and Mark Goslinga (Drents Archive) where the Drenthe of 1883 is discussed. The publication Travelling with Vincent is a study of the significance of his Drenthe oeuvre, viewed from an art-historical and contemporary perspective.