Rotterdam museum buys Van Gogh after displaying it for 40 years

Collectie Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s Boijmans van Beuningen museum has bought a painting by Vincent van Gogh that has been hanging in its galleries for 40 years.

The museum said it had acquired the work, Still Life with Potatoes, which dates from 1887, for an undisclosed sum to ensure it stayed in the Netherlands. It was previously on long-term loan from a private collection.

“The risk with a long-term loan, especially with famous artists like Vincent van Gogh, is that the work can be recalled or sold, possibly abroad,” the museum said in a press release. “This purchase ensures that this Van Gogh will stay in the Netherlands’ national collection.”

Numerous backers, including Vereniging Rembrandt, Stichting Boijmans van Beuningen and VriendenLoterij, as well as private investors, contributed to the purchase fund, the museum said.

Van Gogh painted the work in Paris, shortly after finishing a short spell at art school in Antwerp, using a much wider colour palette than in his later, better-known work The Potato Eaters.

He wrote to his brother Theo that he wanted to portray the exact texture and irregular shape of the potatoes in his still life.

Head of an Old Farmer’s Wife With a White Hat. Wikipedia

Another Van Gogh work, Head of an Old Farmer’s Wife in a White Hat, fetched €4.5 million at the Tefaf art fair in Maastricht at the weekend.

The portrait, measuring 63cm by 48cm, is believed to have been painted in 1884, when Van Gogh was working in Nuenen, Brabant. It was acquired from the M.S. Rau gallery in the United States by an unnamed private buyer who owns a museum outside Europe.

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