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Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh - Volume 2 , livre ebook

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96 pages
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This paradox - the sadness and health of the country - reflects van Gogh’s own situation: nature always was a kind of home for him - a home that he could never share with anyone else. In Saint-Rémy, van Gogh had worked on a picture named The Reaper:“For I see in this reaper […] the image of death, in the sense that humanity might be the wheat he is reaping. So he is — if you like — the antithesis of that sower I tried to do before. But there’s nothing sad in this death, it goes its way in broad daylight with the sun flooding everything with a light of pure gold.” […]A few weeks before his suicide van Gogh had written to Theo: “Even if I have not succeeded, all the same I think that what I have worked at will be carried on. Not directly, but one isn’t alone in believing in things that are true. And what does it matter personally then? I feel so strongly that it is the same with people as it is with wheat, if you are not sown in the earth to germinate there, what does it matter? In the end you are ground between the millstones to become bread. The difference between happiness and unhappiness! Both are necessary and useful, as well as death or disappearance… it is so relative - and life is the same.”

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Publié par
Date de parution 04 juillet 2023
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781785256905
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 21 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0800€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Victoria Charles





Vincent van Gogh
by Vincent van Gogh


Volume 2
Text: Victoria Charles
Translator of letters: Robert Harrison
© Confidential Concepts, worldwide, USA
© Parkstone Press International, New York, USA
© Webexhibits.org / IDEA.org
© Image Bar www.image-bar.com
ISBN: 978-1-78525-690-5
All rights reserved.
No part of this may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world. Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers. Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.
Contents
Arles: 1888-1889 “An artists’ house”
Arles: 1889 “I was a fool and everything I did was wrong”
Saint-Rémy: 1889-1890 “What is the good of getting better?”
Auvers-sur-Oise: 1890 “But there’s nothing sad in this death…”
List of Illustrations
Notes
Arles: 1888-1889 “An artists’ house”
On February 19th, 1888 van Gogh left Paris for Arles. Two days later he wrote to Theo:
“It seems to me almost impossible to work in Paris unless one has some place of retreat where one can recuperate and get one’s tranquillity and poise back.” [1]
The region of Arles reminded him not only of the Dutch landscape, but also of the Japan shown in the woodcuts. He rented a room in the Carrel Inn and set to work immediately. In the morning, he went out into the fields and gardens, where he stayed until late afternoon. He spent his evenings in the Café de la Gare, where he wrote letters and read newspapers or novels like Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème . It was there that he befriended the Zouave second lieutenant Paul-Eugène Milliet, the postman Joseph Roulin, and the couple Ginoux, who owned the café. In a letter to Theo, he explained “ I would rather fool myself than feel alone. ” [2] Van Gogh held his new friends in high esteem – later, in the time of crisis, they would become his most faithful and empathic companions – but he missed being near people with whom he could discuss art and painting.
In May of the same year, he rented two rooms in an empty house on Place Lamartine. Since the rooms were unfurnished, he slept in the Café de la Gare, having abandoned the Carrel Inn after a quarrel with the landlords. The task of decorating the house – which he called both the Yellow House and The Artists’ House – delighted him to no end. In his mind, it was to form the nucleus of an artists’ colony, a studio of the South. As he said to Theo:
“You know that I have always thought it idiotic the way painters live alone. You always lose by being isolated.” [3]
Dependent on his family for financial support, van Gogh began to reflect on the position of the artist in society:
“It is hard, terribly hard, to keep on working when one does not sell, and when one literally has to pay for one’s colour out of what would not be too much for eating, drinking and lodgings, however strictly calculated... All the same they are building state museums, and the like, for hundreds of thousands of guilders, but meanwhile the artists very often starve.” [4]
For van Gogh, museums were cemeteries. He was similarly contemptuous of the art trade:
“Given ten years as necessary to learn the profession and somebody who has struggled through six years and paid for them and then has to stop, just think how miserable that is, and how many there are like that! And those high prices one hears about, paid for work of painters who are dead and who were never paid so much while they were alive, it is a kind of tulip trade, under which the living painters suffer rather than gain any benefit. And it will also disappear like the tulip trade.” [5]
Van Gogh’s alternative to this unhappy state of affairs was a community of artists: the painters should work together, support each other and give their works to one faithful dealer – Theo – who would pay a monthly sum to the artists, regardless of whether the works sold or not. Van Gogh tried to persuade Gauguin to join the studio of the South. For over half a year, from March to October 1888, he courted his admired colleague with letters. He asked Theo to increase his monthly allowance to 250 francs, so that Gauguin could live with him in Arles. In return, Theo would receive one painting from Gauguin. Gauguin, who was living in Brittany, stalled in his replies: sometimes he claimed to be too ill to travel, and on other occasions to be short of funds. The months of waiting for Gauguin were the most productive time in van Gogh’s life. He wanted to show his friend as many new pictures as possible. At the same time, he wanted to decorate the Yellow House:
“I wanted to arrange the house from the start not for myself only, but so as to be able to put someone else up too... For a visitor there will be the prettier room upstairs, which I shall try to make as much as possible like the boudoir of a really artistic woman. Then there will be my own bedroom, which I want to be extremely simple, but with large, solid furniture, the bed, chairs and table all in white deal. Downstairs will be the studio, and another room, a studio too, but at the same time a kitchen... The room you will have then, or Gauguin if he comes, will have white walls with a decoration of great yellow sunflowers... I want to make it a real artist’s house – not precious, on the contrary nothing precious, but everything from the chair to the pictures having character... I cannot tell you how much pleasure it gives me to find a big, serious job like this.” [6]
In the middle of August, he started the cycle of the sunflowers for the guest room:
“I am hard at it, painting with the same enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won’t surprise you when you know that what I’m at is the painting of some big sunflowers. I have three canvases going – 1st, three huge flowers in a green vase, with a light background...; 2nd, three flowers, one gone to seed, having lost its petals, and one a bud against a royal-blue background...; 3rd, twelve flowers and buds in a yellow vase... The last one is therefore light on light, and I hope it will be the best... If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow.” [7]
Of the projected Twelve Sunflower pictures, he completed only two, because the ‘models’ disappeared too quickly. He therefore turned to a new subject: the garden of the poet. Three variations on this theme, together with the two sunflower paintings became the decoration for the guest room, which was waiting for Gauguin’s arrival. The nest had been built, but it remained empty. Van Gogh tried to remain optimistic:
“If I am alone – I can’t help it, but honestly I have less need of company than of furiously hard work,... It’s the only time I feel I am alive, when I am drudging away at my work. If I had company, I should feel it less of a necessity; or rather, I’d work at more complicated things. But alone, I only count on the exaltation that comes to me in certain moments, and then I let myself run to extravagances.” [8]
At the same time, he resolved to control his exaltation:
“Don’t think that I would maintain a feverish condition artificially, but understand that I am in the midst of a complicated calculation which results in a quick succession of canvases quickly executed but calculated long beforehand. So now, when anyone says that such and such is done too quickly, you can reply that they have looked at it too quickly. Apart from that I am now busy going over all my canvases a bit before sending them to you.” [9]
On October 23rd, Paul Gauguin finally arrived in Arles. “He is very interesting as a man,” Vincent writes to Theo, “and I have every confidence that we shall do loads of things with him. He will probably produce a great deal here, and I hope perhaps I shall too.” [10] The first thing Gauguin produced was order. Fifteen years later, he wrote in his memoirs of the time in Arles: “First of all, I was shocked to find disorder everywhere and in every respect. His box of colours barely sufficed to contain all those squeezed tubes, which were never closed up, and despite all this disorder, all this mess, everything glowed on the canvas – and in his words as well.” [11] In the middle of November, Gauguin reported to his dealer and financial backer Theo:
“The good Vincent and le grièche Gauguin continue to make a happy couple and eat at home the little meals they prepare themselves.” [12]
Before, Vincent had eaten in restaurants, quickly exhausting the sums Theo sent him, which was between 150 and 250 francs each month. By way of comparison, the postman Roulin, who was married and had three children, earned only 135 francs. Plainly, van Gogh’s chronic lack of money was a result of his somewhat impromptu way of living. He took rooms in hotels and inns while traveling around – and didn’t like it at all. He was not extravagant: he always looked for the cheapest accommodation, and forbade himself to eat large meals.
But his acts of self-denial often bordered on the ritualistic: even when invited as a guest, he would refuse meals out of a belief that, like a monk, he should eat no more than was necessary for him to live. Even during his studies in Amsterdam, he had exhibited a tendency towards self-abnegation. He confessed to his teacher Mendes da Costa that he was beating himself with a stick as punishment for not having worked enough. A stomach disorder and dental problems were the consequence of his unbalanced diet, which consisted mostly of bread and cheese. It is doubtful, however, that these health problems were the exclusive result of poor nutrition; they might also have been symptoms of syphilis, a disease from which also Theo suffered. His course of treatment – balanced nutrition, repose, abstinence from sex – was often discussed between the brothers, and Vincent came t

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