Friday, September 3, 2010

"The Bedroom" Is Back!

The first version of "Vincent's Bedroom in Arles" -- painted in Arles in October 1888 -- returns to display today in the Van Gogh Museum, following an intensive and successful six-month restoration. A special display, "Bedroom Secrets," reveals the conservation process and complicated history of the painting for visitors. But hurry: the mini-exhibition of "The Bedroom" will only remain in Amsterdam until September 19th; after that, the picture heads to Japan for a Van Gogh retrospective co-organized by the VGM and Kröller-Müller Museum.

More details, including before-and-after photos and an account of the conservation process, can be found on the Van Gogh Museum's website and on the conservators' blog, Bedroom Secrets. My hat's off to the conservators for a fantastic job: even in photographs, one can see how much brighter the colors are after cleaning, details previously obscured now more visible. Most importantly, this painting, which was in a very fragile condition prior to restoration, is in a much safer state. The fact the VGM is sending it to Japan shows how confident the museum is; it almost never traveled in recent years because of its condition. I enjoyed reading the conservators' updates throughout the process and their interesting discoveries. Congratulations to the VGM on what must be a very exciting day!