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Van Gogh exhibition centres on “The Sower”

The Sower (1888) is the centrepiece of the exhibition. Villa Flora

An exhibition of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, which rotates around its centrepiece - "The Sower" - has opened at the Villa Flora in Winterthur.

The core of the exhibition consists of pictures from a private Swiss collection, belonging to Arthur and Hedy Hahnloser. This includes “The Sower” of 1888, a figure of symbolic significance and one with which van Gogh himself identified.

A clergyman’s son, the artist at one stage wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and preach the gospel – to be “a sower of the Word”. Instead he took up painting, and saw his pictures as “seeds sown in the field of public opinion”.

Rotating exhibition

Part of the exhibition will “rotate” because some paintings are on loan for limited periods from art museums in Amsterdam, Bern, Boston, Philadelphia and Winterthur. Before it closes in March 2003, some of the contents will be changed every four months.

The exhibition traces van Gogh’s artistic development from the dark tonality of his early work to the later paintings when, after moving to Arles in Provence, he captured the dazzling Mediterranean light of southern France.

But it also includes more sombre works from that period, such as “Le Café de Nuit” (The Night Cafe), which depicts the low-life inspired by Emile Zola’s novel, “L’Assommoir”.

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