An examination of Vincent van Gogh’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) has revealed that after its theft the painting suffered damage in a number of places. Scrutiny has also yielded new discoveries. The work was painted on linen and later nailed to a wooden frame. At a subsequent stage it was affixed to a panel. Van Gogh began the work as a winter scene but eventually changed the season to spring.
Vincent van Gogh’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring was stolen in 2020 from the Singer Laren museum, where it was on loan from the Groninger Museum. In 2023 came the joyful news that the painting had resurfaced, thanks to the efforts of the art detective Arthur Brand. The conservator Marjan de Visser is currently examining the painting at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Part of her work involves special X-rays made at the Van Gogh Museum.
According to De Visser, following its theft the painting suffered damage, mainly to the old varnish. A few scratches penetrate all the layers down to the ground, with the linen even visible in one spot.
New discoveries: winter to spring
The fact that the canvas is glued to an oak board has limited the damage considerably. According to De Visser, the linen canvas was probably nailed to a wooden frame sometime after being painted. The work was previously believed to have been painted on paper and then affixed to a panel. Van Gogh also altered the painting: he began it as a winter scene but eventually changed the season to spring.
Now at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring is currently being examined at the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Visitors can view it there in February. In the public collection building, visitors get a behind-the-scenes look at various aspects of collecting, caring for, and displaying a museum collection. This is one reason why the building’s modern restoration studios are the perfect place for the painting’s inspection.
At the Groninger Museum from 29 March
The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring goes back on view at the Groninger Museum on 29 March as the highlight of 150 Years of the Groninger Museum – Behind the Scenes. During the exhibition the work can be viewed from front and back. It will be displayed in its pre-restoration state, with the damage from the theft still visible. On the walls of the museum, the comic artist Barbara Stok will tell the story of the painting’s journey, from Van Gogh’s studio in Nuenen all the way to its return in an Ikea bag.
Note to the editor, not for publication
For more information please contact the Communication, PR and Marketing department:
email@example.com / +31 (0)50 3666 512