Rainer Fetting sees Van Gogh

The Vincent van GoghHuis presents an exhibition by the German artist Rainer Fetting (1949) from January 26 to July 3, 2022. There is a wide choice of paintings, sculptures, drawings and a film in which Fetting portrayed his vision of Van Gogh. The painter of the ‘Neue Wilde’ portrayed himself as Vincent from the 1980s, but also placed Van Gogh near the Berlin Wall, in the New York Subway and in relation to his friend Paul Gauguin. In addition to loans from various museums, the studio of Rainer Fetting has been extensively used for this exhibition.


Vincent van Gogh was the father of modern painting. He inspired generations of artists after him. Shortly after his death, the French Fauvists and the German Expressionists, including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde, were indebted to him with the use of bright colors and violent painterly gestures. However, painting gradually became exhausted. After a brief revival with, among others, Cobra, the conceptual dominated more and more after the Second World War. Minimal Art, Arte povera, Zero and Joseph Beuys declared figurative painting dead. With the exception of a few, such as Georg Baselitz, artists hardly dared to hold the brush and palette anymore.

In the 1980s, on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a group of young German artists brought about liberation, a reappraisal of figurative painting. Rainer Fetting belonged to this ‘Neue Wilde’. He picked up the expressiveness of Van Gogh’s art again in a series of portraits and scenes in which he took Van Gogh to the 20th century: Van Gogh an der Mauer, – an der Hochbahn, – in the Subway.

Vincent painted his masterpieces between 1880 and 1890. A hundred years later, he revived in Fetting’s powerful and expressive canvases from Berlin and New York. He placed Van Gogh’s painter friend Paul Gauguin behind him like a shadow. He called his painting and a bronze sculpture ‘Ruckkehr der Giganten’. Van Gogh returns to this day in Fetting’s work. In a lengthy tribute to the master, he updates his significance for modern art and proves himself a worthy successor.

Exhibition & publication

The Vincent van GoghHuis pays tribute to Rainer Fetting with a major exhibition of his paintings, drawings and sculptures inspired by Van Gogh. With a choice of photos and a never-before-seen film in which Fetting takes on the role of Van Gogh at the Berlin Wall.

For the catalog (WBooks), Sir Norman Rosenthal, known for curating the groundbreaking exhibition A New Spirit in Painting (Royal Academy of Arts London, 1981), wrote an essay in which he aptly describes Fetting’s special relationship with his predecessor Vincent van Gogh. to indicate. He also explains his relationship with Francis Bacon, who is also fascinated by Van Gogh.

The exhibition is composed of works from Rainer Fetting’s studio, supplemented by a number of important loans from private property and German museums, such as Sammlung W├╝rth, Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf and Museum Sammlung Zimmer.

This project is supported by contributions from the Mondriaan Fund, VSB Fund, Fund 21, Zabawas and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.