Van Gogh and his Biggest Fan

Ulrike Grafberger, Wednesday, September 21, 2016 , 319 Views

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Vincent van Gogh is considered one of the most important painters of the modern period. And he has, amongst others, a very special lady to thank for this: Helene Kröller-Müller. As he was dying in poverty, she used her fortune worth millions to generously invest in Van Gogh's works. Although the artist himself was not able to benefit from this, as he had died 18 years before Helene began to collect his works, she significantly contributed to his artistic recognition.

The art lover, born in 1869 near Essen, bought around 90 paintings and over 180 drawings by Van Gogh, and was advised in selecting the works by the art historian and university lecturer Henricus Petrus Bremmer. Her Vincent van Gogh collection began with the paintings "The Sower" and "Still Life with Decanter and Lemons on a Plate", as well as a picture from the "Sunflowers" series. Many more of the artist's works followed, such as "The Potato Eaters", "The Langlois Bridge at Arles", "Cafe Terrace at Night" and "Landscape with Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon".

Together they form the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world, which can be viewed today in the Kröller-Müller Museum, set in De Hoge Veluwe National Park. Helene donated her collection, which had grown to around 11,500 works of art, to the Dutch State - on the condition that a museum be established for it. And this is what happened. Under the direction of the architect Henry van de Velde, a magnificent low-rise building made of concrete, glass and metal was built in the midst of a national park in 1938; skylights let soft natural light into the interior of the building and large windows offer a sweeping view over the green forest landscape.

Vincent van Gogh's works have found a new home in this friendly environment. But he is not alone. Pictures by, amongst others, Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian hang nearby. The museum park, comprising 25 hectares, is impressive, as it is also home to the largest sculpture garden in Europe with 160 works. In the garden there are works by Aristide Maillol, Rodin, Christo, Armando, Marta Pan and Pierre Huyghe. Children in particular take pleasure in Jean Dubuffet's huge accessible artwork, named "Jardin d'Email", which invites you to explore its uneven black and white striped floor.

The outstanding collection of Vincent van Gogh's works, as well as that of other modern painters, the enormous sculpture garden nestled in a park of towering trees, rhododendron gardens and lawns, as well as the magnificent nature of the surrounding De Hoge Veluwe National Park make a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum an unforgettable experience.

In September 2016 there will be an additional highlight, when Vincent van Gogh's drawings, which are rarely shown due to their high sensitivity to light, will also be exhibited. In the exhibition "The Early Van Gogh" (24/9/2016 until 9/4/2017) there will be around 120 works from the period 1880-1885 available to view. The focus here will be on his drawings.

Further information on the Kröller-Müller Museum