Saturday, February 28, 2009
Vincent van Gogh, my friend
I just finished reading the book, "The Yellow House" ( van Gogh, gauguin, and nine turbulent weeks in provence).
And I couldn't put the book down!
I am a huge Vincent van Gogh fan and I have a book collection of over 40 books written about him and his art. Books about the spiritual side of Vincent, about the women in his life, the complete letters he wrote to his brother Theo, etc. and this Yellow house book has been calling to me for awhile to take it down off of the bookcase and read it's contents, so I finally did and I am soooo happy I heeded the books call.
For Vincent, the yellow house represented a place where he would finally be accepted, a place where other artists would come together in harmony and create art side by side, a brotherhood of artists.
Paul Gauguin was to be the yellow houses's first guest, the total opposite of Vincent van gogh, and maybe that's why Vincent was drawn to him.
The two artists work together for awhile but eventually tempers and egos get in the way and all does not end well.
(This is where the incident of "the ear" takes place)
And even in the midst of conflict and strife Vincent van Gogh engages in one of his most astonishing creative spirits in Western art. During his year in Arles, he produces some two hundred paintings, many of which were masterpieces!
While in France, my husband and I traveled to the various cities where Vincent had lived.
We got to see the yellow house in Arles and the cafe where he hung out with friends.
And then we traveled to St. Remy and stayed right down the road from the asylum where Vincent lived for a bit. It definitely was a very surreal feeling walking down the haunting empty
hallway where this great artist also had walked.
Our last part of the trip was spent walking the dusty streets in Auvers where Vincent spent his last days
and it is forever etched into my soul of the day I got to sit in the room where Vincent lived the last weeks of his life, so heart wrenching and inspirational, all at the same time.
The day of visiting Vincent and Theos grave melded my heart with theirs and I will never forget that gorgeous blue sky I gazed upon as I stood at the foot of their gravestones.
Vincent van Gogh was a very complex man, full of genius, detemination and complexity and the last paragraph of the book puts it all so wonderfully, so I will leave you with it's words.
"Vincent wasn't only an inspired, mad artist; he was a great painter desperately trying to remain sane. He saw the world with a rare intensity which gave great power to his work. And it was while looking and painting that he knew the greatest pleasure of which his tormented nature was capable."
talk to you soon,