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Van Gogh Museum unveils partnership with The Pokémon Company International

The Van Gogh Museum has joined forces with The Pokémon Company International to invite visitors to step into the world of Vincent Van Gogh through a number of surprising activities – at the museum and online.

Running from 28 September to 7 January 2024 at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the collaboration is part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the museum and will aim to introduce new audiences to the artist’s work.

Both Vincent van Gogh’s work and Pokémon have a special connection with Japanese art and culture. Japanese prints had a profound impact on Vincent’s art and on his world view.

Speaking to his brother Theo in a letter in September 1888, Vincent said: ‘And we wouldn’t be able to study Japanese art, it seems to me, without becoming much happier and more cheerful, and it makes us return to nature, despite our education and our work in a world of convention’.

“This collaboration will allow the next generation to get to know Vincent van Gogh’s art and life story in a refreshing way,” commented Emilie Gordenker, general director of the Van Gogh Museum. “The Van Gogh Museum and The Pokémon Company have drawn on many years of educational expertise to create a special experience for children, their supervisors, and we hope many others at the Van Gogh Museum.”

A number of activations will be running as part of the collaboration. These include the Pokémon at the Van Gogh Museum presentation, with several of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous works from the permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum serving as inspiration for six paintings made by artists from The Pokémon Company.

Examples include Pikachu shown in a work that is inspired by Self-portrait with Grey Felt Hat (1887); the Pokémon Sunflora is hidden in a variant of Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers (1889); and you can find Snorlax and Munchlax relaxing in a work inspired by The Bedroom (1888).

The Pokémon at the Van Gogh Museum presentation.
The Pokémon at the Van Gogh Museum presentation.

A Pokémon Adventure activity (6 years+) will lead young visitors along the works by Vincent van Gogh that served as inspiration for the paintings in the six-piece special presentation, Pokémon in the Van Gogh Museum. During the activity, visitors will discover the museum and the stories behind the paintings. Once participants complete the Pokémon Adventure activity, they can hand in their completed leaflet for a special Pikachu x Van Gogh Museum promo card.

Pokémon x Van Gogh online learning material – Van Gogh at School, meanwhile, will help pupils learn about the connection between Van Gogh and Japan, and about how inspiration can go in two directions.

A How to draw Pikachu video guide will be available in the museum that teaches visitors how to draw fan favourite Pokémon, Pikachu, and encourages them to try this for themselves.

Finally, the Van Gogh Museum Shop (inside the museum and online) and The Pokémon Centre online store will feature an exclusive range of Pokémon x Van Gogh Museum merchandise featuring the art of the collaboration.

Director of licensing at The Pokémon Company International, Mathieu Galante, commented: “We are always looking for fantastic partners that we can create unique and joyful experiences with for Pokémon fans, and we have genuinely found that in working with the Van Gogh Museum.

“There is a strong link between the inspiration behind Pokémon and the inspiration behind some of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous work. With this collaboration we really hope that we can see children discovering and immersing themselves into the world of art through the incredible works of Van Gogh and Pokémon.”

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