Exhibition examines fascination with theme of DMA’s masterwork painting
Dallas, TX, July 25, 2006—The Dallas Museum of Art will present Van Gogh's Sheaves of Wheat, an in-depth study of a theme that both delighted and obsessed this great artist and influenced countless contemporaries and future artists. Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and featuring Vincent van Gogh’s masterwork Sheaves of Wheat (1890) from the Museum’s own collection, this exhibition explores the artist’s fascination with the motif in his paintings, drawings, and personal letters, as well as the iconographic significance of wheat and agricultural labor in the work of other late 19th-century artists, including Paul Gauguin, Jean-François Millet, and Camille Pissarro, among others. The exhibition will have the largest collection of Van Gogh works ever displayed in the Southwest.
“This exhibition brings together several of the most important paintings by master artists,” said John R. Lane, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “Not only does the exhibition focus on an important element in Van Gogh’s work, but it features one of the most important paintings from the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection gifted to us by Wendy and Emery Reeves.”
One of Van Gogh’s final works, Sheaves of Wheat was completed weeks before the artist’s death in July 1890. With animistic intensity, van Gogh depicts a field of golden wheat, gathered together in freshly stacked sheaves. Other works by Van Gogh, such as Wheat Field with a Reaper (5 -6 September 1889) and Corn Harvest in Provence (17-23 June 1888) help to elucidate the artist’s vision and the aesthetic evolution of the theme.
“Van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat illuminates a common motif that has universal significance as a symbol of biblical and mythical abundance,” said Dorothy Kosinski, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the DMA. “This exhibition examines Van Gogh’s personal obsession with the theme, which became a metaphor for the creative process and the cycle of life in the artist’s work, and contextualizes Van Gogh’s interpretations with those of other artists of the time.”
The exhibition includes the work of other 19th-century artists, including individuals who Van Gogh admired and emulated, as well as artists of his generation who shared his enthusiasm and fascination with the theme. Works by Émile Bernard, Jules Breton, Charles-François Daubigny, Julien Dupré, Paul Gauguin, Léon Augustin L’Hermitte, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Félix Edouard Vallotton illustrate a range of different approaches and reveal the larger social and political issues of the time.
Van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 119-page catalogue, with a forward by Dr. Lane, essays by Dr. Kosinski and Dr. Bradley Fratello, and individual biographies by Laura Bruck on the artists included in the exhibit.
The catalogue situates the Reves painting of freshly stacked sheaves within the trajectory of Van Gogh’s career as an artist, arguing that this work represents his profound identification with the rhythms of nature, as well as his embrace of the contemporary tenets of symbolism. The essay closely analyzes the physical characteristics of the painting—Van Gogh’s use of color, his dynamic application of paint, and sense of composition—while at the same time contextualizing it within the artist’s other representations of agricultural landscapes that were produced throughout his career. Extensive reference to the artist’s personal correspondence offers the reader insight into Van Gogh’s thoughts about these images.
Exhibition Organization and Support
Van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Kosinski.
The exhibition is presented by Wachovia. Additional support is provided by One Arts Plaza, Essilor of America, Inc., Billingsley Company, and McKool Smith P.C. Opening member events are sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Financial, The Texas Financial Group – Dallas. Air transportation is provided by American Airlines.
Cost of the exhibition which includes an audio tour is $16 for adults, $14 for senior citizens, $12 for students with current identification and $8 for children six and older. Members and children under six are free with a cost of $4 for an audio tour. Groups of 10 or more are $12 per person.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
The 23,000 works of art in the Museum’s encyclopedic collections span 5,000 years of history and represent all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia, and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves as the cultural magnet for the city with diverse programming ranging from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings, dramatic and dance presentations, and a full spectrum of programs designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.