Research forms the basis for all a museum's core tasks, from building, managing and presenting its collection, to conservation and exhibitions. The work of curators, conservators and researchers – at the Van Gogh Museum and at universities, research institutions and museums around the world – continually enriches our understanding of Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time. Research therefore represents a fundamental aspect of the Van Gogh Museum's mission, and the museum maintains an ambitious research and publications programme. This includes the ongoing object-based research for our series of collection catalogues, both on the paintings and drawings by Van Gogh and on the works of his contemporaries; research on the Japanese prints Van Gogh collected (2018); on the founding figures of our museum, Jo van Gogh-Bonger (2019) and Vincent Willem van Gogh; on the canvases used by Van Gogh and on discoloration of late nineteenth-century pigments; as well as research for our exhibitions on topics as varied as Van Gogh's illness (2016), Paul Gauguin's and Charles Laval's stay on Martinique (2018), the influence of Western European artists on the work of Gustav Klimt (2020), Van Gogh's paintings of olive groves (2021) and his works from Auvers-sur-Oise (2023).
The Van Gogh Museum is known for its interdisciplinary approach, in which art-historical and technical research go hand in hand. Thanks to this research tradition, the museum has assumed an international role as a centre of knowledge for Van Gogh and the art of his time (1840–1920). Our most recent research activities can be followed through our scholarly newsletter Van Gogh Museum Academy, which is published online three times a year.
The knowledge generated by our research is shared in a wide variety of ways: through collection catalogues, exhibition catalogues, articles in academic journals, online platforms, symposiums and through scholarly books published by the museum in association with specialist publishers. Following on from the Cahiers series (1988–2002) and the Van Gogh Museum Journal (1995–2003), the Van Gogh Museum began to publish its Van Gogh Studies series in 2007. The museum's new, peer-reviewed series, Van Gogh Museum Studies, of which this is the first volume, will renew this practice and features academic publications resulting from the museum's research programme.