Press Release

Van Gogh Museum and Dallas Museum of Art Co-Organize First Exhibition Dedicated to Van Gogh’s Olive Grove Series

Dallas, TX
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Groundbreaking Exhibition Reunites Van Gogh’s Expressive Paintings of Olive Trees For the First Time and Features New Discoveries From Collaborative Conservation and Scientific Research

In 2021 the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands) will host the first exhibition dedicated to Vincent van Gogh’s important olive grove series, executed during his yearlong stay at the asylum of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Co-organized by the two institutions, Van Gogh and the Olive Groves reunites for the first time the series of paintings devoted to the titular motif that the artist produced between June and December 1889. It additionally highlights new discoveries about the artist’s techniques, materials, and palette that emerged from a collaborative conservation and scientific research project that included all fifteen paintings in the series. Co-curated by Nicole R. Myers, the DMA’s Barbara Thomas Lemmon Senior Curator of European Art, and Nienke Bakker, Senior Curator of Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum, the exhibition will premiere at the Van Gogh Museum from June 25, 2021, through September 12, 2021, and will then travel to Dallas, where it will be presented from October 17, 2021, through February 6, 2022.

“The Van Gogh Museum is the leading authority in scholarly research into the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. This unique opportunity to study a complete series of paintings and dedicate a focused exhibition to it is immensely valuable for our knowledge on the artist’s oeuvre, and we are delighted to collaborate with the DMA on this important project,” said Emilie Gordenker, Director of the Van Gogh Museum. 

“This exciting partnership with the Van Gogh Museum leverages the joint strengths of our two institutions—in curating and research—to present a fresh look at a much-beloved artist,” said Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “Through world-class exhibitions such as this one, as well as the scholarship behind them, the DMA continues to uncover new insights on even the most time-honored artists for our communities and the art world more broadly.” 

Through a selection of the artist’s paintings and drawings drawn from public and private collections, Van Gogh and the Olive Groves traces Van Gogh’s evolving stylistic treatment and motivations for depicting the olive groves of Saint-Rémy over a six-month period during his stay as a self-admitted patient at the local asylum. This bold and experimental series, reunited for the first time in this exhibition, reveals Van Gogh’s passionate investigation of the expressive powers of color and line, and his choice of the olive groves as an evocative subject. The exhibition will also explore the artist’s tendency to produce groups of paintings on specific subjects, taking a closer look at select examples from key periods of his production, as well as at the larger series of paintings dedicated to motifs he considered quintessential to Provence, to which the olive groves belong. 

Van Gogh and the Olive Groves will also highlight new discoveries on the artist’s palette, techniques, and materials, as seen across the 15 paintings in the series. The product of a collaborative conservation and scientific research initiative launched by the organizing institutions in partnership with the various collections that hold the paintings, and helmed by Kathrin Pilz, Paintings Conservator at the Van Gogh Museum, these findings will provide new insight into Van Gogh’s choice of materials and techniques in this particular phase of his production.  

“These fascinating paintings clearly held an important place for Van Gogh within his oeuvre, making it that much more surprising that they had not yet been the subject of a dedicated study and exhibition,” said curators Nicole Myers and Nienke Bakker. “After years of research, we are thrilled to reunite the olive grove series for the first time for audiences in Europe and the United States and to present exciting new discoveries on the paintings and artist alike.”

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Vincent van Gogh, The Olive Trees, 1889, oil on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

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