Her Last Name Is Van Gogh: Her Thoughts on Michigan’s Van Gogh One-of-A-Kind Exhibit

DETROIT – She says she was thrilled to see it in person, and that’s high praise from someone with the surname Van Gogh. The famous artist’s relative traveled to Michigan from Amsterdam to see for himself this Vincent van Gogh exhibit that you will only be able to see in Detroit.

Josien Van Gogh is Vincent’s great-great-niece. Her grandfather was the son of Theo van Gogh, Vincent’s brother. Josien and her daughter, Janne Heling, Vincent’s great-great-niece, came to the Detroit Institute of Arts for “Van Gogh in America,” which runs through Jan. 22, 2023.

Six years in the making and two years delayed, this exhibition features 74 original Van Gogh works on loan from museums and private collections around the globe.

“At the exhibition there is a large photograph of Jo (Johanna van Gogh-Bonger) with a baby on her lap. That’s my grandfather,” Josien Van Gogh told MLive.

She said she really enjoyed the exhibit because there are so many paintings owned by museums across the United States that she has never seen in person before.

“What I like about the exhibition is that there are many paintings from the United States that I have never seen because they have always been in the United States and they do not travel to Europe. I am excited about the exhibition and I like it a lot.”

73 of the 74 original Van Gogh works in the exhibition will be carefully returned to their homes in museums and private collections around the world. One will stay. DIA owns “Self-Portrait”, which it bought in 1922.

“One hundred years after the DIA made the bold decision to purchase a Van Gogh painting, we are honored to present ‘Van Gogh in America,'” said DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons. “”Not everyone can go to Paris. Not anyone can go to Amsterdam. It didn’t take a village, it took a city to put this exhibition together. The community has been incredibly supportive, the lenders, extraordinarily generous and the sponsors, amazing.”

Tickets for the show cost $7 – $29 and can be purchased here on weekdays and here on weekends. Residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties receive a discount. Audio tours for adults and youth are included in admission along with a printed exhibition guide.


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