I planned to write the Vincent Van Gogh blog article before we had seen the exhibition and with a sense of excitement at doing something a little different – visiting an art exhibition. Bad backs are not easy things to stand around in so we have been avoiding such functions and concentrating on more mundane activities as the couch, crosswords, drinking whiskey and such.
The reaction to my post on van Gogh after we visited was staggering; rave reviews and enthusiastic fan emails from around the world. The artist has avid followers 120 years after his death and still draws flocks of viewers. How satisfied he would have been to see the acclaim. One young woman wrote and gave statistics of the Van Gogh paintings she has seen and said, “And of course I have read all his letters.”
The more than 3,000 Van Gogh images we saw projected to enormous scale created a thrilling display, immersing one entirely in the vibrant colors, brushstrokes and vivid details that constitute Van Gogh’s unique style. It also gave insight into Van Gogh’s work. The man was driven and in his urgency to get large quantities of paint onto the canvas as quickly as he could, he would often squeeze the paint straight from the tube onto the canvas. In his later works the paint is often a centimeter thick.
The letters he wrote to his art dealer brother Theo, show how he regarded his own poor life, the hardships, the ongoing struggle, hunger and frustration he was suffering. A misfit in modern terms, a biography of Van Gogh will tell of the hard life he endured because of his all-consuming drive to paint. Most of his works clearly describe the life he was living. By the end of it all, at the young age of 37, he had sold one painting.
You certainly had a tough life, Vincent, but what an after-life you’re having – it is completely timeless and will go on forever.