Exhibition ‘The Potato Eaters. Mistake or Masterpiece?’
Oct 8, 2021 - Feb 13, 2022
Ticket: €19.00*
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Vincent van Gogh’s Potato Eaters is a painting that lots of people know. But how did he approach the work? What was he hoping to achieve? And did he succeed? Visit The Potato Eaters: Mistake or Masterpiece? this autumn and make up your own mind about the world-famous painting.

‘…the colour they’re painted now is something like the colour of a really dusty potato, unpeeled of course.’ Vincent to his brother Theo, May 1885

Mistake or masterpiece? The Potato Eaters: Mistake or Masterpiece? opens on 8 October 2021 and is an ode to the famous work that Vincent van Gogh completed in 1885 while living in Brabant. The story told by the preparatory paintings, studies, sketches and letters is one of ambition, perseverance and criticism. A story for young and old alike about keeping faith in yourself.

The exhibition explores the background to The Potato Eaters and the painting’s significance. It will help you form your own opinion of the work that Vincent himself thought was the best thing he ever did.

Ambitious masterwork Vincent spent months working on The Potato Eaters, for which he prepared meticulously. He saw the painting as a symbol of an honest, tough rural life that painters had previously tended to romanticize.

He viewed The Potato Eaters as his first ‘masterwork’ – a demonstration of his newly acquired skills – and hoped the challenging group composition would be his entrée into the Paris art market.

Fierce criticism But the success he hoped for failed to materialize. He came in for fierce criticism from dealers, artists and his brother alike. The Potato Eaters never featured in an exhibition and ended up hanging unsold above the fireplace in Theo’s apartment in Paris.

All the same, Vincent did not admit defeat. He did not abandon his career and he continued to develop as an artist.

Life-size reconstruction The ‘Potato Eaters Studio’ will enable visitors to get even closer to the master and his masterwork. In the setting of a life-size reconstruction, you will get to experience the famous painting in a different way.

You can step right into the De Groot family’s cottage and take a seat at their dinner table. Vincent spent hours with them, capturing the family as The Potato Eaters.

There will be a wide-ranging programme of activities at the Potato Eaters Studio aimed especially at families with children aged four to seventeen. Make a peasant self-portrait at one of the drawing tables or try your hand at sketching an object featured in the canvas.

There will also be workshops at which you can get to know the De Groots better and make your own version of The Potato Eaters.

‘But I keep on making what I can’t do yet in order to learn to be able to do it.’ Vincent on The Potato Eaters to his friend Anthon van Rappard, August 1885
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