AMSTERDAM.- The Van Gogh Museum welcomed 1,470,000 visitors in 2008. In addition to the permanent collection, the exhibitions John Everett Millais and 125 Favourites: Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association proved to be major attractions. The latter exhibition (which runs until 18 January 2009) was particularly popular among Dutch visitors.
Visitors - The Van Gogh Museum attracts a distinctively youthful public. Around half the visitors are 30 years or younger. In part this is due to the varied programming during the Van Gogh Museum Friday Nights. Olivier Provily's performance Spring, put on every Friday night during the John Everett Millais exhibition, attracted large numbers of young visitors.
Exhibitions - In addition to the major exhibitions John Everett Millais, which was organised in cooperation with London's Tate Britain and 125 Favourites, mounted together with the Rembrandt Association, the Van Gogh Museum also hosted presentations of works from the capital's Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum. This resulted in fascinating presentations such as Werkman's 'druksel' prints from the Stedelijk Museum's collection and Indian miniatures, from the Rijksmuseum's collection.
Acquisitions - This year the Van Gogh Museum was able to present two important acquisitions. The previously acquired mural Breton girl spinning (1889) by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was put on display in May. The work is a valuable addition to the collection of Van Gogh's contemporaries and greatly strengthens the museum's collection of the 'Pont Aven school'. A new acquisition was that of The Seine at Nanterre by Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958). The painting is a striking example of Vincent van Gogh's influence on the Fauves, a group of painters in the early twentieth century. The work was purchased with the support of the BankGiro Lottery, the Mondriaan Foundation, the Rembrandt Association (with thanks to the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds) and the VSBfonds.
Publications - This year, too, the Van Gogh Museum realised various publications. For the John Everett Millais exhibition it published the catalogue of the same name in cooperation with Tate Publishing.
As part of the popular Van Gogh in focus series of educational books on the life and work of Vincent van Gogh the Museum published Van Gogh and the sunflowers. The book was well-received internationally, with the New York Times recently including it in its art books selection 'the most notable volumes published this year'. The catalogue for the Van Gogh and the colours of the night exhibition was published in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. This exhibition, currently causing a furore at MoMA in New York, will go on show at the Van Gogh Museum on 13 February. The accompanying catalogue has been published in six languages.
Museum Mesdag - Museum Mesdag, the Hague-based museum of 19th-century art, closed its doors on 19 May 2008 for extensive interior refurbishment which includes an upgrade of its climate installation and lighting. In the first months of the year Museum Mesdag welcomed over 7,500 visitors -- almost double the numbers for the corresponding period in 2007. The boost to visitor numbers was mainly due to the popular Refuge in beauty exhibition dealing with the influence of the Pre Raphaelites on Dutch artists. This exhibition linked up with the John Everett Millais exhibition in the Van Gogh Museum. Museum Mesdag is set to reopen to the public in early 2010.