The Van Gogh Museum has marked the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death with the launch of The Vincent van Gogh Atlas at the celebrated Auberge Ravoux. This new reference work contains hundreds of historical photographs, drawings, letters, detailed maps and topographical material relating to the places where the celebrated artist lived and worked. Willem van Gogh and Machteld van Laer, descendants of Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, laid sunflowers and yellow dahlias on the painter’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise. A colossal self-portrait made up of 50,000 dahlias is also unveiled on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum: ‘We decided, together with our partners, that 2015 should be a Van Gogh Year, on the theme of “125 years of inspiration”. We’ve organised a whole series of activities to commemorate who Van Gogh was, and what made him so extraordinary. He continues to inspire millions of people around the world to this day.’
Vincent van Gogh died in the arms of his brother, Theo, at Auberge Ravoux on 29 July 1890, two days after shooting himself in the chest in a farmer’s field in a moment of despair. His coffin – piled high with sunflowers and yellow dahlias – was buried on 30 July at the cemetery on the outskirts of the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, where the artist spent the final three months of his life and painted over 70 new works. Today, exactly 125 years later, the Van Gogh Museum is commemorating the celebrated painter at the place where his life ended.
Axel Rüger spoke at Auberge Ravoux – where Van Gogh’s room can still be visited almost exactly as it was – about the inspiration the artist continues to offer 125 years after his death: ‘Van Gogh was a model European. He was one of the first Europeans who travelled widely to make friends in other countries and to seek inspiration. The 125th anniversary of his death is a good moment to commemorate who Van Gogh was and what made him so extraordinary.’ The event also saw the unveiling of The Vincent van Gogh Atlas (Uitgeverij Rubinstein, 2015) – a unique reference work that documents Van Gogh’s well-travelled life through hundreds of historical photographs, drawings, letters, detailed maps and topographical material. The first copy was presented to Willem van Gogh and Machteld van Laer. During the afternoon, both relatives laid sunflowers and yellow dahlias on the famous painter’s grave.
The memorial ceremony was a joint initiative of the Van Gogh Museum, the Institut Van Gogh Auvers and the Van Gogh Europe Foundation – an association of around thirty institutions, which are paying tribute to Van Gogh in 2015 through the theme ‘125 years of inspiration’. The commemorative events were prompted by the way the artist continues to inspire so many people today and how he is still very much ‘alive’, a century and a quarter after his death. Activities are being held throughout the year in a number of towns in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and England, which played a significant part in the artist’s life. The Zundert Corso Flower Parade Foundation marked today’s 125th anniversary of their celebrated fellow villager’s death by unveiling a large self-portrait of Van Gogh, made of 50,000 dahlias, on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. The tableau measures eight metres square and can be seen alongside the Van Gogh Museum.
The Vincent van Gogh Atlas
Where did Vincent van Gogh live and work before he found his way to Auvers? The Vincent van Gogh Atlas provides the answer through hundreds of historical photographs, drawings, letters, detailed maps and topographical material. Follow Van Gogh’s progress via more than twenty places in the Netherlands, England, Belgium and France, and discover how his world looked at that time: from the tranquillity of the Brabant and southern French countryside, to the teeming metropolises of London and Paris. A rich selection of his work shows how the artist captured the world around him in hundreds of paintings and drawings.