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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Collecting Van Gogh: Helene Kröller-Müller’s Passion for Vincent’s Art

Nagoya City Museum / Nagoya / Art

Helene Kröller-Müller was born into a wealthy industrialist family in 1869, in Essen, Germany, and married a Dutch shipping tycoon when she was 19. As a girl, Kröller-Müller had struggled to find solace in religion. What she couldn’t find in church, however, she did find in art. In 1906, she studied with the painter and critic Henk Bremmer, who urged her to begin collecting. In 1907, Kröller-Müller purchased Paul Gabriël’s moody painting It Comes from Afar. She then turned her attention to the work of a failed artist who had died in 1890—Vincent van Gogh. She saw what others couldn’t see: genius. Kröller-Müller bought her first two Van Gogh paintings in 1908, and in subsequent years purchased 88 more, as well as 185 drawings. Helene and her husband opened the Kröller-Müller Museum in 1938, and the works that have traveled to Japan for this exhibition speak to the special bond between artists and collectors. Van Gogh highlights include Country Road in Provence by Night and The Yellow House. —E.C.

Nagoya City Museum Japan, 〒460-0008 Aichi, Nagoya, Naka Ward, Sakae, 2 Chome−17−25 芸術と科学の杜・白川公園内
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