NGV Friday Nights is bringing together stellar musicians alongside Vincent Van Gogh

Art aficionados and novices alike cannot deny the brilliance of Vincent Van Gogh. Today the Dutch post-impressionist is known around the world for his exquisite landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, despite the fact he remained poor throughout his life and died virtually penniless, by his own hand, at the age of 37.

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The troubled artist found solace in creative expression, as it helped him connect to the world around. It’s believed the changing of the seasons had an immense effect on Van Gogh as they represented the circle of life – birth, bloom, maturity and death or spring, summer, autumn and winter.


To highlight Van Gogh’s unquestionable affection for nature, the National Gallery of Victoria presents Van Gogh and the Seasons as part of their much-loved Friday Nights program and the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series in 2017. “The exhibition will also be split up into the four seasons,” says NGV’s Senior Public Programmer, Jes Wawrzynski. “As you walk through the gallery you’ll experience each season and the related works, one season after the other. It’s very powerful.”


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The exhibition is curated by Sjraar van Heugten, independent art historian and former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. “Sjraar will be doing a keynote lecture for us on Saturday April 29 called Something On High,” Wawrzynski says. “It’s on the opening weekend and we’ve already sold over 100 tickets to that program so I think that will be really popular.”


Van Gogh and the Seasons features works borrowed from museums across the globe, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. In total, the exhibition will feature 50 of Van Gogh’s works, including works from his own art collection.


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“It really is an amazing selection,” Wawrzynski says. “There will be talks and tours throughout the season including the opening weekend, and then each Friday night we will also have a guided tour of the exhibition and a floor talk in the space, to further explore the themes of Van Gogh and the exhibition.”


The good people of the NGV outdid themselves this time around when putting this event together. Twelve hand-picked arts have come from all over to be part of this truly unique exhibition.


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They include Australian singer/songwriter and former Youth Group front man Toby Martin, acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter Emma Russack, Melbourne via Arnhem Land singer/songwriter Gawurra, US ambient artist Grouper, Melbourne’s own emotion punk trio Two Steps on the Water, legendary rockers The Fauves and many more.


“Every Friday night we will have a string quartet playing in the Great Hall, and that will be beautifully linked to the works in the exhibition,” Wawrzynski says. “People can come along, have a drink, have a bite to eat, go through the exhibition and then catch the headline act that’s scheduled for the night.


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“On Friday May 12 we will have a really special program featuring The Drones’ front man Garreth Liddiard. He has recently rerecorded Jonathan Richman’s Vincent Van Gogh song Van Gogh just for this event, and it is available online for people to listen to. Also on that night, ABC Radio’s Classic FM will be doing a live broadcast here between 6pm and 7pm and the Grigoryan Brothers will be playing as well. That one will be a really big night too.”


Wawrzynski says the NGV also has something special planned for the last night of the season and warns eager punters to get in quick as tickets are selling fast. “On Saturday the July 8 we will have The Panics here performing live, that’s going to be a lot of fun.”


By Natalie Rogers

NGV Friday Nights run at the National Gallery of Victoria from Friday April 28 until Saturday July 8, opening with a performance from Gemma Ray. Head to NGV’s website for the full lineup.