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For Immediate Release
July 6, 2015

Williamstown, MA—Leo Jansen, a researcher at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands and an editor of the Van Gogh Letters Project, presents the lecture “A Wonderful Thing to Have: Vincent van Gogh Writing about Nature” on Sunday, July 19 at 4 pm at the Clark Art Institute. The lecture will be held in the West Pavilion of the Clark Center.

Vincent van Gogh was not only a remarkable and influential artist but also a gifted and prolific letter writer. In his lecture, Jansen summarizes the characteristics of the artist's correspondence and explores the relationship between his letters and his art. According to Jansen, Van Gogh’s writing served as a means not only to communicate with others but also to develop his own thinking about essential issues regarding his art and life. Nature is a recurring topic; his letters show that his concept of nature is related to deeply felt, existential emotions as well as to metaphysical or religious notions.

The Van Gogh Letters Project, a fifteen-year effort, resulted in the digital publication of Vincent van Gogh, The Letters ( in October 2009, and in a widely acclaimed, six-volume printed edition (Vincent van Gogh: The Letters. The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition). From December 2005 until April 2014, Jansen was the Van Gogh Museum’s curator of paintings. He curated several exhibitions on Van Gogh and is co-curator of the current exhibition Munch: Van Gogh (Oslo, May–August 2015 and Amsterdam, September 2015–January 2016). Since May 2014 Jansen has worked as a researcher at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, where he is preparing a digital publication of Piet Mondrian’s complete correspondence and theoretical writings.


The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open daily in July and August, 10 am to 5 pm; open September through June, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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