Vincent Van Gogh 1853–1890. Altho it's long been thought he took his own life, the rifle that killed him has never been found. I heard the two curators of this exhibit say on the Charlie Rose Show that when Van Gogh went into the city, teenagers mocked him as being a fool, or crazy, and quite possibly took pot shots at him, not necessarily meaning to kill him. Read more here.
Bedroom at Arles, 1888
My psychotherapist friend Joe drove us to the museum via the scenic route. After all, we were about to see some of the most exquisite artwork in the entire world (!) so why not immerse ourselves in beauty on the way down.
Although the exhibit was very crowded, by taking our time and being patient, we got great close-up views of the 40 masterpieces on display. Many were painted in the last years of Van Gogh's life. After a mental breakdown, he went voluntarily to the St. Paul asylum in St. Remy.
Vase with Carnations was not in the exhibit. When I got close to the work, I like to look at the layers and layers of paint he stroked onto the canvas.
"He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during his last two years. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints," said R G Harrison on the website of his complete works.
At the asylum in St Remy, he was treated well. After his health returned, he roamed the beautiful farm fields - the golden swaying wheat fields - the forests - and the cities, painting with a manic intensity.
He loved nature since he was a child.
He did this still-life of Quinces while at St Remy. He did few of his beloved still-lifes b/c the open countryside beckoned.
Contrary to popular thought, Van Gogh knew of his own greatness. He knew that one day he would take his place in the pantheon of great artists. He made sure he signed all his works - 'Vincente' - and made sure each one was as good as it could be.
His famous Sunflowers were there plus these two dropped sunflowers. Notice the unique angle he painted them in. He did become known for seeing things from unusually creative angles.
His most famous painting Sunflowers he envisioned as a series of 12 paintings but only completed four. His famous Bedroom - his bedroom at the asylum - was composed in several different versions.
Many artists - whether painters or poets or musicians - constantly revise their own work over time, in a quest of a perfection they rarely believe they achieve.
I found a website that contains all of van Gogh's paintings. Van Gogh had personally met most of the great artists of his day, including Gauguin who was very important to him. They exchanged their own paintings with one another.
Van Gogh maintained an art collection and was tremendously influenced by Japanese artists such as the famous Katsushika Hokusai. The works of this master illustrator are known to many, though his name may not be familiar. Below is cherry blossoms and bird.
Van Gogh had an uncanny genius of remembering nearly all the paintings and photographs he had ever seen. They inspired him when he did his own original work.
Many of the below paintings were in the Museum's collection, but I couldn't resist putting other ones on the blog. I like perusing my blog posts when the mood hits me.
Have you ever seen such beautifully rendered gladioli? And they don't die.
He did many paintings of the Understory of forests. No one had ever done such rich detail. In a letter he wrote his brother Theo he said he discovered a Blade of Grass and became fascinated with the texture and color of every single blade.
Again, note the unusual angle, an aerial view. He loved peasants and farmers, simple working people, like our Mitt Romney does today. He was also fascinated by the peaked roofs of houses.
Newly discovered "Daffodil and Basil Leaves in Planter's Peanut Jar on Windowsill of Ruth Deming's Kitchen." Night View.
Sunset: Wheat Fields Near Arles. I've never seen this one before but immediately fell in love with it. Look at all the space he devotes to the wheat fields, and those brush strokes, each one different as the hairs on our beards.
A son of the Netherlands, he was well-acquainted with flowers, like the field of iris in the foreground, the olive trees, and finally St Paul's asylum where he lived for a whole year. Never expecting to die, his work assumed brighter colors as his health returned and his thoughts soared toward home.
What is it that's so appealing about still-lifes?
His fascination with gabled roofs, against a yellow background. Yellow was his favorite color.
Poppies. My own poppies die almost immediately upon cutting. Hence, I have never cut them since that first time. Instead, I go out and look at them during the way and photograph them per below.
How could I resist this floral arrangement which is grasping at all four corners of the canvas in silent motion.
Time stops as these Parisian citizens (I think) cross a bridge. Straight lines and curved lines.
Cypress trees against the rocks.
While still sick, Vincent painted this eerie forest picture with no way out. The plane trees, unlike his other trees, are straight, not the nuanced shapely trees he is fond of painting.
Carnations. I esp. like the colors on the bottom half.