Thanks to a prolific private collection on long term loan to the Museum, the Minnesota Marine Art Museum often surprises people with its quality. Museum Director Andrew Maus says, “That is the most common thing that we hear…. people are just really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the MMAM’s collection.”
Pieces from the collection are often coveted by other museums for temporary exhibitions, including some of the largest and best art museums in the world. One of the most significant pieces in the collection, Vincent van Gogh’s The Beach of Scheveningen, is currently on loan to the Denver Art Museum’s blockbuster show Becoming van Gogh.
The piece is one of the most significant pieces at the MMAM for good reasons. Van Gogh experts believe it is one of his first oil paintings, if not the first, and contains every quality that one would like to see in an early work by the Impressionist master. Louis van Tilborgh of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most respected van Gogh scholars in the world. He says of the work, “(The Beach of Scheveningen) is of the greatest importance, as no painting of van Gogh’s Hague period is so telling about his working method. You can follow with your eyes what he did, making a first sketch with pencil, laying in the paint and marvel at the effects of the palette knife, and scratching in the paint layer with the end of the brush for specific details. And most importantly, it still has all those visible traces of his use of his perspective frame. Some of these elements can of course be pointed out in other works of the same period too, but (The Beach of Schveveningen) painting has it all!”
Becoming van Gogh at the Denver Art Museum runs until January 20th, after which the masterpiece The Beach of Scheveningen will be returned to the MMAM.
There is always something new to experience at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, a nonprofit art museum and educational center supported by over 1,000 members, donors, granters and sponsors from across the greater region. It is located at 800 Riverview Drive, surrounded by gardens on the Mississippi River in Winona. Gallery and Store hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10am – 5pm.