New research indicates that LED lighting, widely installed in museums around the world, renders unstable a common yellow paint used by 19th century artists like Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh.
Tests carried out in France and Germany on 14 samples dating from 1887 to 1890 indicate that certain types of a paint known as chrome yellow turn brown or olive green when exposed to energy-efficient LED lights.
Claus Habfast of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility told The Independent that, "LED lights appear to have many advantages but museums should carefully consider that paintings from the Van Gogh era could be affected by them," adding, "it's not advisable to put these paintings in the dark because they are part of the cultural heritage of humankind and the public wants to see them. But museums have to strike the right balance.”
Yellow symbolised happiness to Van Gogh. Sunflowers were a favorite subject, most famously the series of works created to welcome the painter Paul Gauguin who stayed with the artist in Arles, France, in 1888. Van Gogh did three more sunflower paintings in 1889. In addition to the iconic bouquet in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, other Van Gogh paintings of sunflowers are held in private and public collections around the world.
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, is the world's top steward of the Dutch artist's work. Its permanent collection includes 200 paintings, 500 drawings, more than 700 letters, and Van Gogh's collection of Japanese prints.
Currently undergoing renovations, the Van Gogh Museum will reopen on May 1, 2013, a key milestone of Amsterdam 2013 celebrations, marking the museum's 40th anniversary and the 160th anniversary of Van Gogh’s birth.
Until April 25, 2013, a collection of 75 important works by Van Gogh will be on temporary display at the Hermitage Amsterdam. Visitors can follow The Van Gogh Mile, an inspiring 'red line' walking route designed by artist Henk Schut, from the Van Gogh Museum to the Hermitage Amsterdam.
For more on travel to the Netherlands and Amsterdam 2013 events, see Visit Holland.