Van Gogh's iconic Sunflowers 'unite' via livestream

Two versions of Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London in 2014. The iconic paintings rank among the Dutch master's most famous works.
Two versions of Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London in 2014. The iconic paintings rank among the Dutch master's most famous works.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THE HAGUE • Five versions of Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece, Sunflowers, are being united across three continents for the first time via a consecutive livestream feed.

Facebook is hosting five livestreams in which international museum directors and conservators will present the versions of Sunflowers in their own institutions.

The Sunflowers paintings, which rank among the Dutch master's most famous works, were painted between 1888 and 1889 while van Gogh was living in Arles, in the south of France.

The livestream video was due to begin with London's National Gallery at 12.50am today (Singapore time), followed at 20-minute intervals by Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, the Neue Pinakothek in Munich and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United States. Finally, a recorded video made by the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art in Tokyo will be played.

"Because the five paintings are spread across different continents, it has never been possible to view them together," said the Amsterdam museum's director Axel Rueger.

Each curator will talk about a different aspect of the paintings, said Ms Jennifer Thompson, curator of the Facebook Live event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She will focus on Van Gogh's repetition of subject, while her colleague from the Neue Pinakothek in Munich will talk about his use of colour.

Ms Thompson said she would distinguish the Philadelphia and Munich versions of the paintings - which both have turquoise backgrounds - from later versions in the other three museums, which have yellow backgrounds.

Sunflowers held a special significance for van Gogh, who once wrote in a letter to a friend that they conveyed "gratitude".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2017, with the headline 'Van Gogh's iconic Sunflowers 'unite' via livestream'. Print Edition | Subscribe