The Springfield Museums present a lecture by artist and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Steven Naifeh Friday, October 11 at 12:15 in the Davis Auditorium of the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. The presentation which complements the exhibits Van Gogh for All and Van Gogh and Japanese Prints is free with admission to the Museums.
“Having Steven Naifeh speak at the Museums is a true honor,” said Heather Haskell, Director of the Art Museums and Vice-President of the Springfield Museums. “His work has helped to illuminate Van Gogh’s deep inner life, especially his literary eloquence, his deep devotion to family and friends, and the richness of his artistic vision.”
In his lecture at the Museums, Naifeh will trace the challenging and wholly interesting life of Vincent van Gogh—which included bouts with depression and bursts of innovation and creativity that have earned him iconic appeal. Naifeh will also discuss the ten-year odyssey that led to the publication of his best-selling book, co-written with Gregory White Smith, on the Dutch artist, Van Gogh: The Life. Naifeh and Smith worked with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and had access to innumerable resources there. The book is available for sale in the Museum Store.
New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani reviewed Van Gogh: The Life in 2011, calling it “magisterial.” The book gained notoriety at the time because the authors proposed an alternative theory of the artist’s death at 37. Instead of death by suicide as is much accepted, they suggested an accidental shooting involving a young firebrand who fancied himself a cowboy and used to bully the eccentric Van Gogh.
As intriguing as this theory is, the best reason to read the book and hear the lecture is the remarkable storytelling that allows all readers and listeners access to a remarkable life.
“Van Gogh’s story holds a poignancy that is so evocative and heartfelt, especially as told by Steven Naifeh,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums.
“Many of our visitors, even those who know Van Gogh so well, will learn from Naifeh’s work,” said Maggie North, Acting Curator of Art. “This lecture is the perfect complement to our Van Gogh for All and Van Gogh and Japanese Prints exhibits.”
Free with museum admission!
About the Presenter
Steven Naifeh is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Naifeh, who has written for art periodicals and has lectured at numerous museums including the National Gallery of Art, studied art history at Princeton and did his graduate work at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. He has written many books on art and other subjects, including four New York Times bestsellers. His biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also inspired the Academy Award–winning 2000 film Pollock, starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden, as well as John Updike’s novel, Seek My Face.
This program has received funding through a grant from the Netherland-America Foundation.
About the Van Gogh Exhibits Currently on Display
Van Gogh and Japanese Prints
July 20, 2019–October 14, 2019
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was captivated by Europe’s popular fascination with Japanese culture. He collected and copied Japanese woodblock prints, as well as took artistic inspiration from their vibrant colors and innovative compositions. In an 1888 letter from Van Gogh to his brother Theo, the artist wrote, “all my work is based to some extent on Japanese art.” This focused exhibition explores the influence of Japanese art on Van Gogh’s oeuvre by comparing reproductions of the artist’s paintings to authentic Japanese prints from the internationally renowned Raymond A. Bidwell Collection at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.
Van Gogh for All
Through October 14, 2019
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Van Gogh for All immerses visitors in the works of the world’s most famous painter. Designed to engage 21st-century audiences in the 19th-century art of Vincent van Gogh, this experientially rich exhibition uses modern technology and participatory learning to immerse new audiences in Van Gogh’s genius, his personal struggles, and his creative process.
Produced and designed by the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation, in collaboration with Luci, and fabricated by Ravenswood Studios.