Seven weeks into its nearly 14-week run, the major exhibition Van Gogh Up Close has booked over 150,000 tickets and is welcoming visitors from 44 countries and 48 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Philadelphia is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition.
Garnering popular and critical acclaim, the exhibition features masterworks including Almond Blossom, painted as a gift for his newborn nephew in the last year of Van Goghs life, and Garden in Auvers, seen in the United States for the first time, as well as such familiar favorites as Sunflowers. The New York Times declared it a succinct, revelatory exhibition, and the Philadelphia Inquirer observed, The moment you enter Van Gogh Up Close at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition tells you that it's something special, one of those uncommon revelations of artistic soul that once seen, can never be forgotten. [T]his exhibition, so thematically concentrated and beautifully installed, brings viewers closer to the essential van Gogh than anything that has come before.
We are grateful for the enormous support the Museum has received to enable us to bring these masterworks to Philadelphia from around the world, said Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Museum could not have undertaken this project without the support of Glaxo Smith Kline and Sun Life Financial. For helping us to get the word out to the world, we thank the Greater Philadelphia Marketing Corporation, the Philadelphia Visitors and Convention Bureau, and our longtime broadcast sponsor, NBC 10, which has produced an especially thoughtful and absorbing half-hour TV special on the exhibition.
To accommodate the strong public response to Van Gogh Up Close, the Museum recently announced extended weekend hours. "Many of our international and out-of-town visitors are coming over the weekends, so the galleries are filling quickly. Its a good idea to plan your visit in advance, said Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Museum. "We have plenty of tickets available if you book early, and it is also a great idea to come during the week, especially Tuesday through Thursday, when traffic is generally lighter.
Tourists have been making Philadelphia their destination, taking advantage of Van Gogh Up Close hotel packages available at the Best Western Center City Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel, Rittenhouse Hotel, and Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel. These packages include a one-night stay and two exhibition tickets (per room reservation) and, for maximum flexibility, guarantee admission to Van Gogh Up Close with no date or time restrictions during exhibition hours. This gives tourists the opportunity to buy tickets to Philadelphia events
and see all the wonders of Philadelphia while still seeing the exhibit.
At the Museum, the Van Gogh Up Close gift shop has also been teeming with exhibition enthusiasts. Shoppers have their choice of van Gogh-related books, including the exhibition catalogue, prints, CDs, and DVDs; Starry Night dresses, scarves, bags, and socks; necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets; and cookies, jellies, soaps, and pottery that echo van Goghs intense engagement with nature and the vibrant colors of his paintings.
On Mondays, when the Museum is normally closed to the public, elementary and high school students from the Philadelphia School District and Archdiocese are coming with their classes to learn from and be inspired by the work of van Gogh, thanks to Sun Life Financial. To date, more than 2,130 students have experienced the exhibition throughout the week and by the end of the shows run, over 3,800 students will have visited the galleries.
There is one Monday, on April 9, when a premium ticket is available for visitors seeking an especially intimate experience, as the attendance in the galleries will be limited accordingly. Docents will available throughout the galleries to answer questions and offer insights into the life and work of van Gogh. Visit the website for information.