The pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works of every gallery and museum. But the National Gallery of Australia has decided to press on with exhibition.
The pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works of every gallery and museum. But the National Gallery of Australia has decided to press on with exhibition.

Major Van Gogh exhibit still coming to Australia

In the face of continuing uncertainties surrounding air travel and the pandemic, the National Gallery of Australia is forging ahead with an international blockbuster exhibition that will fly Vincent van Gogh's stunning Sunflowers and 60 other masterpieces into Canberra next autumn.

NGA director Nick Mitzevich said Botticelli to van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London had only been delayed by the coronavirus but not cancelled.

Originally scheduled to open in November, the show will now run from March 5 to June 14 next year.

The masterworks in the show have spent the pandemic in lockdown at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, where the exhibition was just about to open when museums and galleries around the world closed their doors.

Under easing social distancing restrictions, the exhibition will open in Tokyo on June 23.

Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers 1888 oil on canvas is currently in lockdown at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. Picture: Supplied
Vincent van Gogh Sunflowers 1888 oil on canvas is currently in lockdown at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo. Picture: Supplied

It will then be seen at the National Museum of Art in Osaka from November 3 this year until January 31, 2021.

The exhibition will then come to Canberra before returning home to the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square.

Botticelli to van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London features Sunflowers as arguably its most widely recognisable work.

Van Gogh painted Sunflowers in 1888 as a gesture of welcome to the artist Paul Gauguin who had come to live with him in the southern French town of Arles.

But the show is filled with breathtaking paintings by many of the world's greatest artists, including Rembrandt's Self-portrait at the age of 34 (painted in 1640), and Vermeer's picture, A young woman seated at a virginal, painted circa 1670.

"We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors exclusively to the nation's capital, to see these world-class paintings in Australia," Mitzevich said.

"I am grateful to the director of the National Gallery, London, Gabriele Finaldi for his generosity in lending some of the most significant works in their collection, providing our audiences with this very special opportunity."

Botticelli to van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London is the largest group of art works to travel outside the UK in the history of the gallery, Finaldi said.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity to share the breadth of our collection and expertise with Australian visitors," he said.

Visitors to the National Gallery in London admiring artwork Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh. Picture: Supplied
Visitors to the National Gallery in London admiring artwork Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh. Picture: Supplied

"We hope we will inspire in everyone who comes to the exhibition a passion for these great paintings."

Other artists in the exhibition include Botticelli, Titian, El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Turner, Constable, Van Dyke, Gainsborough, Renoir, Cezanne and Gauguin.

Botticelli to van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London is presented in a partnership between Art Exhibitions Australia, the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery, London.

Tickets for the exhibition will go on sale on December 1, with pre-sale tickets for NGA members released in mid-November.

Originally published as Major Van Gogh exhibit still coming to Australia



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