Art with heart: Van Gogh reproductions loaned to deserving members of public

Director Emilie Gordenker with nurse Saskia Photo: Van Gogh Museum
Emilie Gordenker with nurse Saskia and reproduction Photo: Van Gogh Museum

A nurse from Bussum was one of the first winners of an extraordinary Van Gogh home loan this week.

The woman named only as Saskia was presented with a picture-perfect 3D copy of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom on Thursday by Emilie Gordenker, director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Her insitution is running a special promotion, Van Gogh Museum loans, while it is closed. It is offering five people every fortnight the chance to borrow one of nine high-quality representations of some of the Dutch painter’s most renowned works.

These ‘museum editions’ are normally used for educational purposes and are so exact that the lucky nominees can – and are allowed to – feel the thickness of the ‘paint’ on the canvas.

Saskia was nominated by her son, who said the loan would recognise her 45 years of dedication to the health sector. She has been working on the ICU throughout the pandemic, even though she is in the higher-risk group,’ he said. ‘She comes home alone, and it would be great to be greeted by a Van Gogh.’

Four other reproductions have been loaned to people in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Den Bosch and Goes, and more than 1000 people have nominated a relative, neighbour or colleague to be a winner in the next round of loans.

Gordenker said in a press release that the initiative was an attempt to share some of the joy of art in these darker times. ‘With Van Gogh Museum loans, we want to make the work of Vincent van Gogh accessible to fans and our public even in these times, in the hope that looking at art can bring them some comfort and joy.

The initiative was inspired by a letter the painter wrote to his brother urging him that they should not just hope for the future but do something in the present.

Dutch museums are expected to open, with a much reduced capacity, from June 1, although concerns have been raised by experts that the effects of the coronavirus could result in the closure of a quarter of Dutch institutions this year.

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