Some thoughts on the movie Loving Vincent . . . It is both spectacular and maddening. The plot is ridiculous: Armand Roulin, twenty-something son of the bushy-bearded postmaster whom Van Gogh painted so memorably, is tasked by his father with traveling to Paris in order to deliver Vincent’s final letter (to his brother, Theo). Armand […]
Visiting Arles, France made a huge impression on me. This is where Vincent Van Gogh had the most productive painting period of his life – one of the most productive of any artist’s life, in fact. Almost everything he painted at Arles is recognized as a masterpiece, and is recognizable by even casual observers: his
“Accumulations” are what Yayoi Kusama called these multiple soft sculpture phalluses that she patiently sewed and placed in rooms, in platforms mounted on floors and walls, and even in two rowboats. Kusama made these pillow-esque, polka-dotted, cartoon-like, engorged phalluses as a way to get over her fear of sex – and one vintage 1960s photo
Arles has managed to keep the look and feel captured by Vincent van Gogh in 1888. Here is the hospital where he stayed after he cut off his ear. It’s been converted into an art center called Espace Van Gogh, with small souvenir shops (mostly related to art) on the ground level. The garden is
One of the most stunning places I’ve been to is Arles, in the south of France, specifically retracing some of Van Gogh’s steps. This is where Vincent van Gogh spent about a year – probably the most eventful year of his life. Arles is where he created many of his masterpieces (the painting of his
December 23, 1888 After an argument with his housemate and fellow artist Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh cuts off at least part of his own ear. Many details are missing or unclear, since Vincent himself has no memory of the incident. We know that Gauguin and Vincent are housemates, and that Vincent has been dreaming
November 28, 1870 Impressionist painter Frédéric Bazille dies on the battlefield during the Franco-Prussian War. He is fighting with the Zouaves, a light infantry regiment, and has been frustrated at the lack of action. Today, in a minor battle, his officer is injured and Bazille takes command. He leads an assault on the Prussians, is
November 24, 1885 Vincent van Gogh moves to Antwerp, hoping to make a living by painting portraits and views of the town.
November 7, 1929 The Museum of Modern Art opens in NYC. Its first exhibition is Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh.
365 Days of Art: October 23 – Gauguin Moves in with Vincent; Art Exhibition Takes on Chicago Mayor’s Brutality
October 23, 1888 Paul Gauguin arrives in Arles to live with Vincent van Gogh in the Yellow House. This is something Vincent has wanted for some time, but his dreams of an art community dissipate as he and Gauguin repeatedly clash. By the end of the fall, Gauguin moves out and Vincent infamously cuts off
October 16, 1888 Vincent writes a descriptive letter to his brother: My dear Theo, At last I can send you a little sketch to give you at least an idea of the way the work is shaping up. For today I am all right again. My eyes are still tired but then I had a
September 16, 1888 Van Gogh moves into the Yellow House in Arles. In a letter to Theo, he describes it like this: Also a sketch of a 30 square canvas representing the house and its setting under a sulphur sun under a pure cobalt sky. The theme is a hard one! But that is exactly
September 11, 1883 After a sometimes stormy one-year relationship, Vincent leaves his girlfriend Sien, the only long-term domestic relationship outside of his family that he will ever have, and moves to Drenthe, a province in the Netherlands.
July 31, 1890 Theo van Gogh’s wife, Jo, writes to Theo just after Vincent’s death: If only I’d been a bit kinder to him when he was with us! She’s referring to Vincent’s last visit to them earlier in the month, which everyone admitted was tense and strained.
July 30, 1869 Van Gogh becomes the youngest employee of the art dealers firm of Goupil & Compagnie in The Hague. July 30, 1890 Twenty one years later, Vincent’s funeral is held. His coffin is placed for viewing in his room at the inn in Auvers, surrounded by his last paintings, and the tools of
July 29, 1890 About a day and a half after shooting himself, Vincent van Gogh dies of the wound. Theo, who will die himself in less than seven months, is at his side.
July 27, 1890 Vincent van Gogh shoots himself in the chest while out painting in the wheatfields. He eventually walks a mile back to the inn where he’s staying, and the doctor is called to bandage his wound. Thinking that the case is hopeless, Dr. Gachet doesn’t even remove the bullet. During the night, Vincent
July 24, 1890 Vincent van Gogh sends his last letter to Theo, which reads in part: As far as I’m concerned, I am giving my canvases my undivided attention. I am trying to do as well as certain painters whom I have greatly loved and admired. He mentions some specific paintings, as well as some
July 10, 1890 After his last visit to Paris, which everyone agrees was tense and strained, Vincent writes to his brother Theo and sister-in-law Jo: Dear brother and sister, Jo’s letter was really like a gospel for me, a deliverance from anguish which I was caused by the rather difficult and laborious hours for us
July 7, 1890 Vincent writes a worried letter to Theo and his wife, Jo, which he he doesn’t send. He had visited them at their home the day before, a visit which Jo characterizes years later as tense and strained. Vincent writes: Can I do anything about it – perhaps not – but have I
July 2, 1882 Vincent van Gogh visits his figure model and girlfriend, Sien, in the hospital, after the birth of her baby (Vincent is not the father). He writes to his brother Theo about how beautiful the baby is, and of his great joy at meeting him. But he sounds an ominous note when he
365 Days of Art: June 30 – Hitler Authorizes Degenerate Art Exhibition; Commission Created to Confiscate More Artwork
June 30, 1937 Hitler signs an order authorizing the Degenerate Art Exhibition, and Joseph Goebbels accordindgly creates a commission to oversee the confiscation from museums and private art collections any remaining artworks that are deemed modern, subversive, or otherwise contrary to the German spirit. This is an extension of Nazi policy to persecute Jews and
June 23, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh writes a letter to Emile Bernard, and references the painting above. What I’ve been doing looks very ugly – a drawing of a seated Zouave [pronounced zoo-AHV, a soldier in the French Army, based in North Africa, with a distinct uniform], a painted sketch of the Zouave against a
May 19, 1877 Vincent writes a letter to his brother Theo, and sends him a lithograph by another artist. Vincent explains that he bought 13 prints for 70 cents, to decorate his room and also to help “refresh” his ideas.
May 16, 1890 Vincent Van Gogh is discharged from the asylum at St. Remy after a stay of one year and eight days. He leaves for Paris where he will briefly visit his brother Theo and his sister-in-law, Jo.
May 4, 1890 Vincent van Gogh writes to his brother Theo about his desire to leave the asylum at St. Remy: The surroundings here are beginning to weigh me down more than I can say – heavens above, I’ve been patient for more than a year – I need some air, I feel overwhelmed by
May 1, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh rents four rooms at the Yellow House in Arles but can’t move in yet due to lack of funds. He will later paint this view of the interior of his bedroom there, one of his most famous paintings.
April 4, 1876 Vincent Van Gogh, temporarily living with his parents in Holland, writes a letter to his brother Theo and discusses his upcoming job as an assistant at a boarding school in Ramsgate, England: As you know, Ramsgate is a seaside resort. I saw in a book that there are 12,000 inhabitants but I
March 30, 1853 Vincent van Gogh is born. In many ways, his story gave rise to the mythology of the artist–a tortured soul who scraped pennies together for art supplies, who went hungry or without heat, who died for his art. His letters reveal him to be incredibly sensitive, aware of his mental illness, tender
March 12, 1931 Art collector Lillie Bliss dies and bequeaths her art collection to found the Museum of Modern Art, with one condition: that the fledgling museum is established financially by the end of three years, or it will forfeit the artworks. Exactly three years later, on March 12, 1934, after raising $600,000, MoMA proves
January 18, 1890 Vincent van Gogh shows six paintings at the opening of the 7th annual Vingtistes exhibition in Brussels. The Vingtistes were a Belgian group of avant-garde Neo-Impressionists, known for their use of bright color.
Today, we observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. As the details of that day and the aftermath are reexamined, one theme that stands out is how important art was to JFK and to Jackie. This story begins and ends with John Singer Sargent watercolors, and includes a private art exhibition arranged
I’m still digesting the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show. I feel a bit wrong to even write that. But in my defense, there was much to chew on. Other people have written more (not to mention better) about the show, so I’ll leave that for them. But some things, for me, were especially notable: The