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When Vincent van Gogh decided to become an artist and taught himself how to draw and paint, he focused his attention on the people who had to work hard for their living, in humble workshops and on farmlands in all weathers. With his depictions ‘of the people, for the people’, Vincent strove to sincerely express his compassion for their way of life. Or, as he put it in a letter to his brother Theo: ‘I say it again – work against indifference – perseverance isn’t easy – but things that are easy mean little’.

In this remarkable exhibition in the Kröller-Müller Museum, guest curator Auke van der Woud places Vincent’s choice of subject in the context of the late 19th century. The works are commented upon by Van Gogh himself with quotes from his letters. The exhibition also includes photographs by Henri Berssenbrugge (1873-1959) who, like Van Gogh, depicted people on the fringes of society.

The exhibition is on show until 4 April, 2017 at the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands.

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