Licensing e arte: la strategia del Van Gogh Museum di Amsterdam

Licensing Italia ha intervistato in esclusiva Marijn Veraart, Head of Global Licensing del Van Gogh Museum di Amsterdam

di Giulia Rastelli

Licensing Italia: Al BLE che si è recentemente tenuto a Londra l’impressione generale che abbiamo raccolto è stata di grande fermento e di rilancio del mercato. Anche l’area dedicata alle property legate al mondo dell’arte ha visto crescere il numero degli espositori e ha riscosso un notevole interesse.
In veste di Head of Licensing del Van Gogh Museum, qual è la sua opinione sui contatti avuti al BLE e più in generale sul riscontro che hanno le licenze che si ispirano al mondo dell’arte?

Marijn Veraart: First of all, it was great to connect with our industry peers in real life again and seize the opportunity to see, and be inspired by, what other brands are doing.  BLE was a very successful show for the Van Gogh Museum, and we are thrilled with the positive reactions to our stand and licensing programme. We had quite a few pre-arranged meetings with our agents, existing and potential partners in different categories, and were excited by the number of quality walk-ins during the three-day show. We were more than happy to see and hear such interest in the Van Gogh Museum brand and the position our licensing programme has taken in the areas of art, culture, and heritage. It clearly illustrates the ongoing popularity of Van Gogh’s work, and the desire to understand the man he was and the stories behind his paintings. In the coming months, the results of our meetings with some potential new partners will become known.

In 2023, the Van Gogh Museum celebrates its 50thanniversary. For 50 years and counting, we have been inspiring people with the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. We also hope to inspire even more people with three special exhibitions at the museum linked to the anniversary year in 2023. From 10 February to 10 April 2023, the exhibition Choosing Vincent: From Family Inheritance to World-Famous Collection, a tribute to the Van Gogh family. From 12 May to 3 September 2023, the exhibition Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise. His Final Months, and from 13 October 2023 to 14 January 2024, the exhibition Van Gogh along the Seine.

At BLE, we were able to show the opportunities for licensing partners to join in the celebrations with our limited-edition artwork Jubilee Bouquet through authentic brand collaborations, and reactions were really positive.

L.I.: Quando ha iniziato il Van Gogh Museum il percorso di licensing e qual è il modello di business?

M.V.: Our biggest strength is of course the museum’s collection, the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, and our knowledge of the art and life of Vincent van Gogh. As for partners in licensing, the Van Gogh Museum offers an unparalleled insight into the artist’s world. Consumers are more than ever looking for authenticity and hope to get inspired by and feel emotionally connected with brands. Collaborations enable us to show the art and tell the story of Vincent van Gogh in new ways and to new audiences. We always try to find a match between the values of the Van Gogh Museum, the works of Vincent van Gogh and the brand we collaborate with. 

We really started to build our brand and licensing programme in 2017 and two of the first major deals signed were Bugaboo for a stroller and BN Walls for wallcovering.

The Bugaboo collaboration is a great example of how the history of the artist is intertwined with a modern product; Vincent van Gogh painted the Almond Blossom, 1890  to celebrate the birth of Van Gogh’s nephew – Vincent Willem. The Van Gogh wallpaper collection has been produced with love and attention to detail; the same kind of craftsmanship that Vincent van Gogh used to create his paintings.

We are working with agents in the different regions (IMG, Licensing Link, Art Studio 3 and The Brand Residence) to strengthen and grow the Van Gogh Museum brand globally. They know the local market, trends, the licensees, the retailers; our agents are actually our eyes and ears in the countries. At this moment, we have around 70 licensees globally in different categories like apparel, home décor, footwear, stationery, gifts, beauty and still growing. To inspire a diverse audience with Vincent’s story and to put his story into the context of today.

L.I.: Quale pensa possano essere le opportunità di licensing e di partnership per un brand come Van Gogh in Italia?

M.V.: The Italian design is renowned for the highest levels of quality and aesthetics. As one of the most prominent art museums in the world, we also work by the highest standards.  The hard work of Art Studio 3 and their passion for the van Gogh Museum brand has resulted in several great Italian collaborations with a shared passion for quality and craftmanship, like for instance Cangini &Tucci with their beautiful mouth-blown lamps inspired by Vincent’s iconic work Almond Blossom, Monini with three special edition cans of olive oil and Francesco De Maio with their hand-decorated majolica tiles.

A very exciting new collaboration with a renowned Italian brand will be launched in 2023 and we will be able to disclose more new partnerships in the coming months. We would love to collaborate with well-known Italian fashion brands, fashion accessory brands, home decoration and homeware brands.

L.I.: Sulla base di quali linee guida selezionate i licenziatari e i partners? 

M.V.: We are interested in brands that naturally link to Vincent van Gogh in what drives them or their consumers. We always encourage all our partners to be creative in how to use the images, the letters, the sketches in the development of the designs. And with every partnership we want to tell the story of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh, to inspire people. To help our partners in the creative process, we have developed two style guides and we are working on a third one. As Vincent once wrote to his brother Theo in 1876 ‘It’s not a painting but an inspiration‘.

More and more people are getting their grips around elevating the importance of environmental impact, social impact and ways to give more meaning to their existence. The Van Gogh Museum is also moving towards more ethical transparency and better sustainable working practices and we would like to see this ambition reflected in our collaborations with licensees.  For instance, Vincent was very much charmed and impressed by nature’s beauty which translated in a brand’s sustainability focus, like Floral Street with their sustainable Sunflower Pop fragrance or the capsule collection together with MUD Jeans, the world’s first circular denim brand.

L.I.: La vostra licenza con Ceramica Francesco De Maio, presentata al Salone del Mobile 2022, ha suscitato un grande apprezzamento. Come è nata la collaborazione?

M.V.: Patrizia and Gianni Famiglietti, the owners of Francesco De Maio, were introduced to us in July 2020. Francesco De Maio is probably the most important symbol of the traditional handmade Vietri Ceramics, with more than five hundred years of experience. It took over two years of hard work; sharing creative ideas, inspiration and making stylistic choices up to the creation of the first prototypes. A work of laboratory technicians, graphic designers and master decorators within Francesco De Maio company who put their heart and soul into it and have worked with the same perseverance to define the glazes, colors and decorations to ensure that the canvases of the paintings are transformed into true works of art in decorated ceramic. A true collaboration celebrating Vincent van Gogh through the shared love for painting and the passion for colour and the beauty of nature.

‘Art is sometimes above nature‘ – Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo, 3 January 1883.

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