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Vincent van Gogh is arguably one of the greatest Post-Impressionist painters. Having created many notable paintings such as The Starry Night or his Sunflowers series, his works still inspire artists around the world. Thanks to the dedicated work of curators and archivists, people can appreciate his life’s work at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. But in a strange twist, the museum’s announced for its 50th anniversary on September 28 that it would be collaborating with an unlikely property: Pokémon.

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But why is the Van Gogh Museum partnering with Pokémon? The museum’s website states, “Pokémon is a Japanese pop culture icon and Japanese [ukiyo-e woodblock] prints were a significant source of inspiration for Vincent van Gogh.” Ukiyo-e woodblock prints were a sort of pop culture art during the late Edo Period of Japan, and so the museum is reciprocating appreciation for what inspired the artist through Van Gogh-inspired Pokémon artwork and merchandise.

Unfortunately, this collaboration was rife with drama from the first day. In a tweet announcing the collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum and Pokémon, the museum said that attendees would “receive a Pokémon Trading Card Game [TCG] promo card.” This promotional card features Pikachu in the style of Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat. Of course, fans of the Pokémon TCG flocked to the museum to get a hold of this promotional card. Apparently, it was so hectic the museum had to halt distribution of the card. The museum stated, “the promotional Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat trading card will no longer be issued by the Van Gogh Museum.”

The museum’s decision to halt distribution of the card came from concerns about safety and security of visitors to the building. It is no wonder why the museum did this, as not all visitors are there for Pokémon merchandise or cards.

In a quick move, the museum and The Pokémon Company allowed fans to obtain the card from Pokémon Centers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the card is currently out of stock. Don’t fret as the card will once again be available at “participating retailers in the Netherlands early next year.”

So, is there any reason to go to the Van Gogh Museum if you can’t even get the Pokémon TCG promotional card? The simple answer is, “Yes.” In a video from the Van Gogh Twitter account, we see a small wing of the museum dedicated to six Van Gogh-inspired Pokémon paintings. Featured Pokémon and the respective paintings the new art was inspired by include Pikachu and Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat, Corviknight and Wheatfield with Crows, Munchlax with Snorlax and The Bedroom, Eevee and Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, Sunflora and Sunflowers, and Smeargle and Self-Portrait as a Painter. The museum also has a Pokémon Adventure where visitors can learn the stories behind Van Gogh’s paintings and a video on how to draw Pikachu at the museum’ss restaurant. Thus, it’s fun for fans and non-fans of Pokémon.

It’s a shame a handful of Pokémon fanatics, and quite possibly scalpers, may have ruined the experience for those planning to visit the Pokémon collaboration at the Van Gogh Museum. However, there are other Pokémon-related displays and events at the museum for fans to enjoy. This collaboration will continue until January 7, 2024. So instead of hunting for a promotional card, consider visiting the Van Gogh Museum for the fantastic art on display and cute Pokémon paintings inspired by Van Gogh’s works.

Sources: The Van Gogh Museum, Pokémon Center, The Verge (Charles Pulliam-Moore) via Siliconera (link 2)

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