Subject: [Fwd: New Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam - A report]
Forwarded by moderator FYI

For my and your pleasure I visited the new Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, this Wednesday July 21, Belgian National Holiday, talking advantage that in Holland it was a usual working day. One thing was for sure: the moulting had become indispensable: the building, designed by architect Gerrit Rietveld in 1973 was conceived to receive about 60,000 visitors a year. Well, in 1997 1,000,000 people visited the museum!! We renovated everything: only the walls and the roof remained, explained the director, John Leighton. And not even that: certain walls have been destroyed to open the galleries as wide as possible. The result is that I got a formidable impression of space and luminosity. Well separated one of each other, on a white or light blue background, the works of Van Gogh are shown into relief of great majesty. The visitor is able now to linger and dream in front of the paintings, which was unthinkable in the old museum. No more jostling and hassling, that's the past, finito!! The visit is even more striking and thrilling than before. On the first floor, the chronological order of presentation of the artist simply called here Vincent, allows the visitor to follow step by step the evolution of his style and genius, from the rural scenes of his birth country Holland until the landscapes and still lives painted in France. Not only did I have the impression that there as more space and light but also more life in the museum. If you happen to go and look at the third floor, the paintings of Van Gogh are judiciously placed next to works of his contemporary artists to show how Van Gogh got inspired by them and how he inspired them. Through the delicious subtlety of the picture hooking, you assist at the unexpected encounter of women painted by Manet and Van Gogh, at a symphony of pink shades on Monet landscapes, Van Gogh and Schuffenecker. A regal!!

The new museum is resolutely high-tech! On the second floor there is now an Internet space where the public can consult the web site of the new museum and learn more about Vincent by reading his mail to his brother Theo and consulting reference books and bibliography about the artist. In the basement, the auditorium has been equipped by the latest audio-visual material to receive conferences, lectures, movies and theatre plays. And what was very important: the air control system has been completely updated. It is obvious that the Van Gogh museum has the ambition to become THE museum of the 21th century, completing its neighbours the Rijksmuseum (16th to 18th century) and Stedelijk museum (20th and soon 21th century). They all signed an agreement of lending their works one to the other. But let me describe the museum lay out and architecture. New ambitions, new means. Conceived by the Japanese Kisho Kurokawa, the new wing of the museum is a sort of metallic grey vessel hidden almost completely hidden (3/4) in a pit. At the bottom of this pit a thin water pellicle flows away, sparkling in the sun. On the northern fašade, the prints study profiles like a drawer half way pulled out of a commode. The Dutch, never stingy of tender nicknames, baptized this titan, granite and aluminium construction already as the mould or the biscuit box. Nevertheless, the symbiosis wanted by Kurokawa with the old building is a success and the lighting is exceptional. Not surprising if you know who George Berne is: the architect who signed the Louvre and Picasso museum lightings. This new wing is only dedicated to receive temporary exhibitions (2,300 square meters), which is double than before. Thus, the museum can expose 80 % of the collection in the old, renovated building. The result is that nothing more sleeps in the reserves for our greatest pleasure and happiness.

Jack