On Saturday morning, my friend Lise and I attended the opening of the much talked about exhibition Van Gogh + Munch at the Munch Museum, Oslo. Queen Sonja of Norway and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition, which was attended by hundreds of people — we were squashed so closely together in the aula that it reminded me of a Ryanair flight!
The enlightening conversation between Munch aka Bruteig and Van Gogh aka van Dijk
Fabian Stang, the Mayor of Oslo, opened the event and welcomed the royals, followed by an introduction by Stein Olav Henrichsen, the Director of the museum, and a very funny imaginary conversation between Van Gogh and Munch by the curators Magne Bruteig (Munch) and Maite van Dijk (Van Gogh).
The Queen and Princess opened the exhibiton by (silently — I would have expected a couple of words, at least) revealing a museum poster on a stand, before they had 15 minutes alone in the exhibition prior to us mortals being allowed in. In the meanwhile, we had Cava. I’m sure it was noon somewhere.
Sadly, we were not allowed to take photograph in the exhibition (unlike when I last visited the Munch Museum), but I was in awe at the amazing work that was on display. Though the similarities between Munch and Van Gogh are not the most obvious, the curators had found quite a few common features in their work and life. They both ranged their work according to a timeline — Munch the timeline of life and Van Gogh of colours. They both used similar styles throughout their careers before they developed their own unique painting style.
The royals leaving the museum // Queen Sonja on the left and Princess Beatrix on the right
Both were criticised for using the “wrong” painting technique of the time — their brush strokes were not pretty enough for current fashions. Neither of them wanted to paint “people knitting and reading” (Munch’s words), but Munch painted life and Van Gogh the transitions of nature. Both artists experiences depression, but while Munch recovered after spending nine months at an asylum in Denmark, Van Gogh tragically died in July 1890 at only 37 years old. We don’t know whether he shot himself or was shot by a boy holding a malfunctioning gun, but researchers tend to believe it was a suicide.
One major difference between the two artists was that Munch was a successful artist for a large part of his lifetime and died a wealthy and well-recognised man, while Van Gogh sadly only sold a single painting while he was alive. Van Gogh came to huge success after his death when his sister in law, Joanna Van Gogh, built a name for him and sold his collection. His most admired work was painted just before he died (and painted so thickly that the paintings would take 1,5 years to dry) and though people in the art community admired his work, he hadn’t broken through in the public eye yet. Joanna made this happen after his death.
The exhibition will last until September and I would highly recommend that you go and check it out. There is a vast collection of artwork on the display, not only by Munch and Van Gogh, but also other impressionists like Monet and Manet. I plan to go back one early morning, when I can have the paintings to myself and can linger and admire as I see fit!
And as for my outfit? White on white, perfect for a Cava kind of morning!
H&M white trenchcoat dress and black trenchcoat // Zara white top // Gina Tricot white trousers // Sam Edelman sparkly shoes // Mulberry white handbag // Marc by marc Jacobs pink leopard scarf // Hermes white/silver bangle // Leather bracelet and silver earrings are souvenirs from Beijing // Unknown brand metal bracelet // Armani silver/brown watch