'Sunflowers' (1889) is one of Vincent van Gogh’s best-known paintings. A great deal of innovative research has been devoted to this masterpiece from the Van Gogh Museum’s collection in recent years. An international team of specialists headed by former senior conservator Ella Hendriks examined 'Sunflowers' using the latest scientific techniques, in order to gather as much information as possible about the canvas, the ground, the paint layers and the previous restorations carried out on the work.
The exhibition 'Van Gogh and the Sunflowers' will show what the research has contributed to our knowledge of Van Gogh’s working methods, the discolouration of certain pigments and the painting’s conservation history and current condition.
To accompany the exhibition, the Van Gogh Museum is organising a symposium on Friday 21 June, at which members of the research team will present their most important findings. The event will also see the launch of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers Illuminated: Art Meets Science. This scholarly publication written by scientists, conservators and art historians will present the results of several years of research into the sunflowers paintings in the Van Gogh Museum and the National Gallery in London.
For enquiries or registration please send an email. Be sure to register, as access is limited. You will receive a confirmation email with subscription and payment instructions as soon as possible. Your registration is official once your payment has been accepted.
Registration fee: € 60,–. Students: € 40,–. The first ten students to register will get free access. The fee includes admission to the Van Gogh Museum, lunch and refreshments.
Programme Symposium Van Gogh and the Sunflowers
Official language: English
8:45-9:15: Registration and coffee
9:15-9:30 Welcome and book presentation - Marije Vellekoop, Head of Collections and Research, Van Gogh Museum
9:30-10:00 MOLAB: European teamwork in providing on-site access to heritage science research projects - Costanza Miliani, Senior Researcher, National Research Council - Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies, Perugia
10:00-10:30 The Sunflowers in perspective - Nienke Bakker, Senior Curator, Van Gogh Museum
10:30-11:00 Painting the London Sunflowers - Catherine Higgitt, Principal Scientist, National Gallery
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-12:00 Painting the Amsterdam Sunflowers - Ella Hendriks, Professor Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, University of Amsterdam
12:00-12:30 Conservation of the Amsterdam Sunflowers: from past to future - Ella Hendriks, Professor Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, University of Amsterdam
14:00-14:30 Emerging vs already established methods for non-invasive imaging of paintings - Koen Janssens, Professor, University of Antwerp
14:30-15:00 Chemical alteration and colour changes: a focus on geranium lakes and chrome yellows - Letizia Monico, Researcher, Center of Excellence SMAArt, University of Perugia, and National Research Council - Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies, Perugia
15:00-15:30 Searching for colour by painting a reconstruction of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers - Muriel Geldof, Conservation Scientist, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and Charlotte Caspers, Artist and Paintings Conservator
15:30-16:00: Coffee break
16:00-16:30 Surface Layers - Klaas-Jan van den Berg, Conservation Scientist, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, and Professor Chemical Aspects of the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, University of Amsterdam; Piotr Targowski, Professor Optics and Informatics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń and Magdalena Iwanicka, Conservator, Restorer and Researcher, Institute of Conservation Science, Nicolaus Copernicus Univeristy, Toruń
16:30-16:45 Conservation treatment of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers - René Boitelle, Senior Conservator, Van Gogh Museum
16:45-18:00: Drinks and possibility to visit the exhibition (the museum is open until 21:00)