First you drive an hour east of Amsterdam past green fields and creamy cows, sharp industrial parks, and ever-changing speed zones. You arrive in the dense Hoge Veluwe National Park and abruptly stop at a gate with a small tourist booth. Believe it or not, you’ve arrived at the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world: The Kroller-Muller Museum.
The gate keeper explains that you are in a national park and that while your Museum Kaart gives you free admission to the museum, you have to pay 9 Euros for admission to the park (the museum is in the middle of the park) and 6 Euros to drive into the park. You can save the parking fee by parking at the gate, borrowing one of the free white bicycles, and peddling four kilometers to the museum.
It turns out the 4-kilometer drive into the park follows a pretty but circular route through the forests with a stop at the museum. When you leave it’s only about 1/2-kilometer back to the main gate. So it’s an easy walk or peddle to the museum if you go backwards from the gate rather than follow the long, circuitous route prescribed.
The museum, itself, is sleek, a modernist’s dream nested into a rich, green sculpture garden.
The sculpture gardens are located behind the museum but you get a taste of the art as you approach the front door.
The inside of the museum is just as beautiful as the exterior with clean, fresh lines and – unusual for most museums – lots of seating.
The Potato Eaters, Vincent Van Gogh
These are a few of the paintings Van Gogh created as he studied the local field workers. He was interested in how they worked and how they moved but he did not fill in or closely detail many of their faces. He was more interested in the light, the color, the motion of the moment.
And here is Van Gogh’s masterpiece.
I know you are reading this because you are interested in Van Gogh – and there are more photos at the bottom of this blog. But so many other greats are featured at this museum! The best part of viewing paintings at the Kroller-Muller is that there are not hordes of people crowding around a tiny painting. You don’t feel pressured to move on after three seconds (think The Mona Lisa in the Louvre). You can almost smell the paint as you take a side-ways look at the artist’s brushstrokes and a guard doesn’t come running up to tsk-tsk you away. Visiting the Kroller-Muller is an extraordinarily delicious experience!
Here’s Georges Seurat’s La Chahut, a neo-impressionist artwork that Seurat created using the pointillist technique of painting with tens of thousands of dots of paint. Close up you might only see pink or green but at a distance, the colors blend and you’ll see brown. This painting was a huge hit when it was introduced in Paris in 1890. It led the way for new art movements such as my daughter Christie’s favorites, the Fauves.
Here are close-ups of two sections of this painting. See what I mean about getting close without being rushed?
Many more impressionist artists are also represented at the museum. Here are a few of the paintings that attracted me such as this painting by Renoir of the Clown John Prince. Renoir was commissioned to paint this full length portrait by the owners of the cafe at the Circus d’Hiver in Paris.
Camille Pissaro, whose work is below, is the artist who encouraged Van Gogh to paint with more color and to paint more freely. Pissaro was fascinated with the interplay of light and color, according to information provided by the Kroller-Muller Museum.
As promised, here are more Van Gogh’s.
Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, “You know Jeannin has the peony and Quost has the hollyhock, but I am in a way the one who has the sunflower.” (Taken from the wall of the The Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands.)
The beautiful floral arrangements throughout the museum made this museum even more delightful. Here are a few snaps:
Make the trip to the Kroller-Muller Museum. It’s well worth the visit and a great break from the frenzy of Amsterdam. There are easy bus and train connections and the drive is interesting.
This has nothing to do with this visit to the Kroller-Muller, but you must watch this trailer for the upcoming movie Loving Vincent, just because it is such an original. Breakthru Films has taught 100 painters to paint in the style of Vincent for the movie. Cannot wait! Read more about the world’s first fully painted film here.
There’s also an interesting video about Van Gogh’s life here from 1Media if you’d like to know more about Vincent’s life.