Natalie and I decided to take Van Gogh's and De Kooning's love of nature as a starting point for the programme (Verhaal op Zaal). We told stories and engaged visitors in conversations about abstract art and figurative art, based on what they saw in Van Gogh's and De Kooning's paintings. We also discussed expressing emotions in nature, through line, colour and gesture: what emotional responses do you have when you see Van Gogh's Reaper? And what about this De Kooning? Most visitors came to the museum to see Van Gogh and left with a new appreciation of De Kooning's art.
Have a look at Montauk IV in the Stedelijk Museum collection: what do you think you see yourself? Would you call this work 'expressive'? And why? Would you call it 'abstract'?
Natalie and I delivered the tours weekly, in both English and Dutch, throughout May and June.
You can join the Verhaal op Zaal tours in the Van Gogh Museum every Thursday. (De Kooning's Montauk IV is back home, at the Stedelijk Museum, however.)