Between 1888-9, Vincent van Gogh painted what was to become one of the most iconic images in art history. Left unsold during his lifetime, the Sunflowers passed to van Gogh's brother Theo and then to Theo's wife Jo Bonger. Four paintings were sold from 1891 to 1924. One remains in the care of the family at the Van Gogh Museum.
Spread across museums around the globe, these paintings have never been seen together. On August 14, 2017, for the first time, five versions of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers will be presented in a way the artist could never have imagined.
The collaborative effort to examine the Sunflower Series is made possible by The National Gallery (London), Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Neue Pinakothek (Munich), and the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art (Tokyo).
This will be the very first time that Facebook LIVE is utilised among different cultural institutions worldwide to host a virtual educational gallery experience.
Preview the virtual gallery here with Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, London at https://vangoghsunflowers.atavist.com/live
Martin Bailey who authored "The Sunflowers are Mine: The Story of Van Gogh’s Masterpiece" said of the upcoming event:
“The five Sunflowers in the Facebook presentation have never been exhibited together - and they never will. There are two reasons.
"First, they are fragile works, and for conservation reasons they either cannot travel at all or are only allowed to in very exceptional circumstances.
"Secondly, they are probably the most popular paintings in all the galleries that own them, so the owning institutions are very reluctant to allow them to leave.”
Susan Foister, deputy director of the National Gallery, said:
“To get them all together physically would be pretty challenging and might take quite a long time. The fact that you can actually bring them together digitally was a solution that really appealed to us, particularly just now with all the experimenting we’ve started to do with Facebook and virtual reality.
“In terms of exhibition organising, works by Van Gogh are always really difficult to obtain because they mean an awful lot to the visitors of a museum who often come thousands of miles to see them.
“That’s often the case with great works of art, particularly with works by Van Gogh, and Sunflowers above all.”
Van Gogh Sunflowers Facebook LIVE Running Order - August 14
National Gallery, London: 12:50-1:05 p.m. EST
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam: 1:10-1:25 p.m. EST
Neue Pinakothek, Munich: 1:30-1:45 p.m. EST
Philadelphia Museum of Art: 1:50-2:05 p.m. EST
Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art: 2:10-2:25 p.m. EST
(Tokyo will be released on https://www.facebook.com/VanGoghMuseum/)