Europe's most important art event in 2009


Blumenbeete in Holland Vincent van Gogh  April 1883
© National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Vincent van Gogh Between Earth and Heaven: The Landscapes

Edited by Frances Moorhouse

The Kunstmuseum Basel is staging the unique exhibition ‘Vincent van Gogh between Earth and Heaven: The Landscapes’ – from 26 April to 27 September 2009. This first comprehensive retrospective of landscape paintings by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) brings together 70 works from every creative period. Thanks to the Kunstmuseum’s exhibition, Basel will be the venue for Europe’s most important art event in 2009.

In a media briefing today, the exhibition organizers announced the start of advance ticket sales on the Internet (, and gave a detailed presentation of the concept behind the exhibition. The national and international press were shown its nucleus, the two landscape paintings by Vincent van Gogh that are in the Kunstmuseum Basel’s collection: View of Paris from Montmartre and Daubigny’s Garden.

The exhibition includes loans of van Gogh paintings from private collections and museums in Europe, the United States and Asia, some of which have never been seen by the general public. This unique survey will be accompanied by landscape paintings by contemporaries of van Gogh from the Kunstmuseum Basel’s world-famous collection – from Monet and Pissarro via Degas and Cézanne to Renoir and Gauguin. They will place the oeuvre of one of the most important and best-known painters in art history into a broader context.

The landscapes in which Vincent van Gogh lived had a profound effect on him and on his art.  The earthy hues of his early Dutch works gradually gave way in Paris to a lighter style of painting, with brighter colours. Finally, In the south of France, van Gogh began to paint in the intensely luminous colours and vigorous brushstrokes that make his paintings so fascinating.

In world-famous masterpieces such as Cypresses (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background, (The Museum of Modern Art, New York) or La Crau with Peach Trees in Blossom (The Courtauld Gallery, London), he reaffirmed the cycle of nature. In and with the landscapes – between earth and heaven – Vincent van Gogh became the pioneer of modernism and, like no other artist, influenced the course of painting in the 20th century.

The large inner courtyard of the Kunstmuseum Basel will have a temporary canopy during the exhibition, transforming it into a large entrance hall. This will create space to offer visitors an exciting multimedia introduction to the life and work of van Gogh, as well as a restaurant area.

Tickets for a specific time slot can be ordered on the Website and printed out at home. This reduces waiting times for the estimated hundreds of thousands of visitors. Tickets can also be reserved by telephone and at the ticket office.

The exhibition is curated by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, director of the Kunstmuseum Basel, Nina Zimmer, curator of 19th century/Modern art at the Kunstmuseum Basel, and Walter Feilchenfeldt as an external consultant. ‘We are extremely pleased to be able to present this unique selection of masterpieces’, said Bernhard Mendes Bürgi. ‘Focusing on the theme of landscape paintings opens up new possibilities of experiencing and grasping the extraordinary artistic vitality of this great painter.’

The exhibition is supported by UBS AG as the Presenting Sponsor. ‘We are very pleased that, in a culmination of years of painstaking preparatory work, the Kunstmuseum Basel is bringing this important art event to Switzerland in the spring of 2009. With our support as the Presenting Sponsor, we want to give the general public the opportunity to directly encounter the fascinating landscape paintings by Vincent van Gogh’, said Peter Kurer, Chairman of the UBS board.

The dates of the exhibition are: April 26 – September 27, 2009

Further information on this exhibition is available by following this link . . .