This Vincent van Gogh Lookalike May Be the Best One Yet

The selfie op was a performance piece by an Australian artist.

Matthew Butterworth dressed as Vincent van Gogh, compared to a self portrait of the artist. Courtesy of Matthew Butterworth.
Matthew Butterworth dressed as Vincent van Gogh, compared to a self portrait of the artist. Courtesy of Matthew Butterworth.

Matthew Butterworth, an Australian artist with more than a passing resemblance to Impressionist master Vincent van Gogh, became a hit at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) when he dressed up as the famous painter and offered museum goers the chance to take pictures with a Van Gogh lookalike.

“I had tiers of people lining up to take a selfie with me. I was getting hugs from random strangers,” Butterworth told the BBC.

Matthew Butterworth posing for selfies dressed as Vincent van Gogh. Courtesy of Matthew Butterworth.

Matthew Butterworth posing for selfies dressed as Vincent van Gogh. Courtesy of Matthew Butterworth.

The NGV is currently showing “Van Gogh and the Seasons,” on view through July 9, so Butterworth thought the time was ripe to capitalize on his resemblance to the beloved artist, often remarked upon in the past.

Arriving at the museum at 10 a.m., Butterworth stood outside with a sign reading “FREE. TAKE A SELFIE WITH VAN GOGH. (Look-alike).” He was somewhat overwhelmed by the public’s response, which saw him pose for 147 photos in just 90 minutes—more than a selfie a minute.

#notvangogh #vangogh #ngv #ngvmelbourne

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The photo-op doubled as art piece for Butterworth, who is currently shortlisted for the AUD$10,000 ($7,400) Footscray Art Prize, for a handwritten note on pink paper promising to donate the prize to charity should he win. He posted the photographs from his latest stunt on social media on the account @not_van_gogh with the hashtag #notvangogh, stopping only when his phone ran out of battery.

The Australian artist likely would have been a strong contender in last year’s I Am Vincent competition, organized by artist Douglas Coupland. A British actor named Daniel Baker was selected as the winner by Coupland, beating out a pair of Swedish frontrunners and New York’s Robert Reynolds, who became somewhat of an Internet sensation after riding the subway in costume as Van Gogh. Some 500,000 votes were cast in the contest, and Coupland 3-D scanned and made a bronze bust of the winner’s head.

#notvangogh

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Butterworth told ABC Radio Melbourne that he plans to restage his lookalike performance in the near future, but will hold off this weekend due to forecasts for inclement weather.


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