The Cleveland Museum of Art and The Phillips Collection have joined together to develop a ground-breaking exhibition that will present new insights into the art of Vincent van Gogh through a study of his “repetitions,” a term the artist used to describe a distinctive genre of works in his oeuvre. The exhibition will be shown at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D. C., from October 2013 to January 2014, and at the Cleveland Museum of Art from March 2014 to May 2014.
As the first exhibition to focus specifically on pairs or groups of works by Van Gogh that feature nearly identical compositions, this project seeks to make a valuable contribution to Van Gogh scholarship and to give broad audiences a new understanding of a fascinating aspect of the artist’s work. Originally inspired by the study of the close relationship between the Cleveland Museum’s Large Plane Trees (Road Menders at Saint-Rémy) and the Phillips Collection’s The Road Menders, both dating from late 1889, this exhibition seeks to explore, clarify and build on that research by bringing together other works that shed light on Van Gogh practice of producing repetitions.
Currently, there is considerable debate even among experts over how Van Gogh produced his repetitions. It is known that he used a perspective frame to compose some paintings, a squaring technique to enlarge painted compositions and Buhot paper to transfer some drawings to lithographic stone. The exhibition curators and conservators are working closely together to investigate the various means Van Gogh employed to produce repetitions.