Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum is marking the 125th anniversary of his death by refocusing the display of its collection to change the focus of how we look at the artist; in their words "to discover the ideas and ambitions behind his art" and present "a new view of an artist you thought you knew."
The exhibit, based on the museum's collection of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters, looks to debunk popular ideas that his art was mainly controlled by his mental difficulties and produced in isolation. Looking at his works thematically rather than chronologically, and interspersing them with the letters and drawings, the new presentation explores his ambitions, his study of other influences and work at incorporating elements into his own work, and his relationships with others.
The new organization is not the museum's only special project for 2015; it has also invited contemporary artists to create works based on Van Gogh letters it sent them; that exhibit will open May 19. In September, when its new extension opens, the museum will host an exhibition comparing the works and influences of Van Gogh and the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, developed jointly with the Munch Museum in Oslo.