Etel Adnan and Van Gogh: The Language of Colour

Etel Adnan and Van Gogh: The Language of Colour

Vincent van Gogh — Wheat Field — 1888Etel Adnan — Untitled — 2014

From 20 May to 4 September 2022, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam presents “Colour as Language”, a retrospective of the work of the artist Etel Adnan (1925–2021).

Source: Van Gogh Museum · Images: Etel Adnan, ‘Untitled’, 2014, oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm. Collection Jean Frémon. © The Estate of Etel Adnan. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris/New York ·· Vincent van Gogh, ‘Wheatfield’, 1888, oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Etel Adnan (Beirut, 1925 — Paris, 2021) was a multilingual, multifaceted and multicultural artist. The daughter of a Christian mother and a Muslim father, she grew up speaking French, English, Greek and Turkish. She was a painter, poet, essayist, novelist and philosophy teacher. In the visual arts, specifically abstraction, she found a new form of expression, which was, as the Van Gogh Museum explains, “a universal language, using colours and lines instead of words”.

“Colour as Language” includes some 40 works by Adnan, many of them in dialogue with paintings by Vincent van Gogh, who was a clear inspiration for Adnan (“he really liberated colour. Because he accepted it as true,” the artist wrote). Thus, paintings by Adnan such as “Autumn Forest” (Forêt automnale) from 2015 or “Untitled” from 2014 are exhibited alongside several famous paintings by Van Gogh, such as “Wheat Field” (1888) and “Tree Roots” (1890).

As a testament to the artist’s multicultural inspiration, the exhibition includes several of the tapestries designed by Adnan, inspired by the Persian carpets that the artist admired during her youth in Beirut; as well as leporellos, notebooks made from Japanese paper that, as the museum explains, “became Adnan’s ultimate medium for drawing and writing, uniting images and language. For example, Adnan copied poetry from contemporary Arabic poets that she admired, before adding her own drawings”. These leporellos are displayed alongside a letter from Van Gogh, in which the artist writes to his brother Theo about his interest in Japanese sketchbooks. #2022 #theartwolf #VanGoghMuseumAmsterdam

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ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.

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