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(.111)1

IOOK OF FAMILY FINANCI


m

TIME-LIFE LIBRARY OF ART

The World Van Gogh

of

1853-1890 by Robert Wallace

and the Editors of Time-Life

Time-Life Books.

New York

BRIGHTON

Books


About the Author M\1h-i

IFF.

Robert Wallace has published more than 100 nonaction articles as well as numerous short

BOOKS 189H-1%7

R. Luce

1

He

-tnne> and poems.

mi NDER: Henry

the author of Rise ofRussia in Time-Life

i>

The Grand Canyon and Hawaii

series,

Librarv of Art volumes. The

Donovan

Editor-in-Chief: Hedle)

The

Bernini.

Chairman ofthe Board: Andrew HeiskeU

Group

ice President:

'

its

Remhmndt and Thr

If

oridoj

predecessors are the Iruit of more than four years Stud) in

European and American museums and

libraries.

K. Sheplej

James

President:

oridoj Leonardo, The U oridoj

It

present book and

Books Great Ages of Alan

the American Wilderness series, and three other

in

Hheii Austell

The Consulting Editor Chairman

u <

I

Larsen

H<>% K.

H.

Maness, Martm Mann,

Planning Director: Oliver

The Consultant Seymour Slive

ChiefofResearch: Beatrice T. Dobie Director oj Photograph) 1

L

Meivin

Harvard

Scott

In Director

at

the

tor his

Business Manager

C

Nicholas J.

Promotion Director

his stay in the

to see the

Chairman of

Book

a Frans Hals exhibition in

at

and Pomona College and has been an

niversity of Leningrad. Dr. Slive. the recipient of a

I

articles

Guggenheim

Haarlem. He

is

House of

the author

on Dutch painting.

even

nt

\wm

mi.

i

1

Siajf

Paul

I*

n

is

on page

>a\ id

Diese two drawings

between

Ipril

awton

I

Hie dots and

his style.

Men vn

i.

(

more

tssistant

Douglas B

bkejv

<>i

change with

was .m rvohiiion

it

ni

-

Robert

<

is

reminded

<>l

little

flowers."

The

full

taken appears on page 185; a sketch of the

ol In-

in

Provence wen- made 1

'

Van Gogh within

a

and show a marked change

in

b)

an Gogh's increasing!) disturbed mental

latter.

state, but

graphic technique.

1

1

vi

Iim

i

individuals ol

lunelm

\,

«. Servii

Endl Vender Horal

t

helped to produce this book; Editorial Production,

Benjamin Ughlman; Picture Collection, Doris O'Neil; Photographic Laboratory,

i

e,

Murra)

J

Gart; Correapondenti Maria \ incensa Uoiai (Paris),

Amsterdam), Margol Hapgood (London), Elisabeth Kraemer (Bonn) and

I

James]

Dolorei I

\

iposito,

(i

i

<•*

huh.

Pal hi

ia

Milk

Keith, Pearl Sverdhn

\l<

orchards

\nn Natanaon (Rome) I

Quality Director

larmen

tirey; Library, is;

1

LetjeH

Picture Department Trnffu

md

he follow in

Norman

Craham

Cop? V/W/ Roaalind Stubenbera, Ion

one

the earl) sketch (front tare transformed into swirls in the

lines ol

this

nofi

Madrid

Quality Director

thai

iv

I.

Production Editon Cennarol

in..

is

you

Goolrick

I

I

Production Editor

in

the beach, quite Hat and sand v. there are

form and color

1888 and the spring ol IKK

Suzanne Seisa

tssistant

iolet,

Paula Pierce,

iron Hartz, I

ynda Kefauver, Gail Hansberry,

row m prodi

\

the changing beht has taken on j tinge ol

End Papers

Some experts conned

<i

to his brother

green or

154.

Front and Back

Chief Researcher Martha I

is

an Gogh

ich other

hulberg,

Rewearchen

"On

to a friend:

He-wrote it

i

" riten John

Die

I

Kathleen ShortaJI

Picture Editor

Designer

Bcene

oridoj

it

moment

painting from which the detail on the slipcase

Ilirsh

:,,.,

1,

j

an Gogh traveled 25 miles farther south

^ ou don't know d

mackerel

ol

because the nexl

\nd he wrote

.

Irles, \

a village called Saintes-Maries-de-Ia-Mer.

boats, green, red and blur, so prett) in

iff]

series editor: Robert Morton

Editorial Stafl for The

.it

"has the colors

sa) it- blur,

pink or grav

HMFIHr MUlum

southern French town of

Mediterranean

lln-n thai the sea

Nicholas llenion

can't

1

also

the Slipcase

During

H Stewarl

I'aul

Publu Relations Director

h

is

numerous publications

his

Ingleton

Sates Director Carl C. Jaeger

ni

where he

In

al>o taught at Oherlin College

work on

numerous books and

On

MeSweene)

General Manager John D.

\

t Diversity,

fine Vrts and Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts

ol

He has

Diversity.

I

Orange-Nassau of

ui

New York

isheh: Joan D. Manlej

pi hi

I

at

Washington Square College. Among

Fellowship, was honored by the Dutch government a- an Officer of the Order of the

Arnold C. Holeywell

Chiefoj Research: Myra Mangan

tssistant

at

for This

Professor

is

exchange professor

Diana Hirsh

Senior Text Editor: tssistant

Professor of Fine Arts

is

A. H. C. \\ hippie

Allen

K.

Janson

Sheldon Cotler

Director:

trt

.

are The Sculpture oj DonateUo and History of

Managing Editors: K/ra Bowen.

tssistant

Da\i<l

\A

[he Department of Fine llts

MANACING EDITOR: Jerry Korn

ellan

\

©19W

rime

In.

Ml rights reserved

Published limultaneousl) inCanadi Reprinted I

it t lea,

'

alherinc Ireyi

I

ibr.irv ol

t

longreu

i

atalogue

s hool and library distril «

«

and

numbei

l'».

i

TO rj*>HH

b) Silver Burdetl

Company, Morristown, Htm

i


Contents

I

The

A

7

Misfit

Mission in Art

29

III

Pilgrimage to Paris

49

IV

Friends and Influences

69

The Southern Sun of Aries

89

II

V VI

VII

VIII

Gauguin

117

in Paradise

Mastery out of Despair

137

"A

161

terrible

Chronology

and maddened genius"

of Artists:

183

Bibliography: 181 Credits and Acknowledgments:

Index: 186

18.i


v

&*

w

* :

/

^^

-\


I

The Misfit

If

there

one

is

about

fact

\

incent van

that he cut off his ear and ga\e

portant in

itself,

but

book about

\

is

is

a

is

The

is

known,

well

act

not at

is

anticlimactic. Perhaps

on the part about the ear w :

i-

it

im-

all

reader, on picking up

an Gogh, cannot help but wonder when he it.

ill

it

be found

is

at

will

come

to

he mav skim over information

hundredfold more pertinent. Having got past

that all else

Now

that

wildly disconcerting, and obscures the whole

the part about the ear. In anticipating that

Gogh

to a prostitute.

Even the most sophisticated

picture of the artist. a

it

it

he mav

it.

feel

best to meet the problem head-

the end of Chapter

that the ear (in fact merely the ear lobe) has been

5.

removed,

it

mav be possible to take a more relaxed view of the unhappy man who removed it. \ incent van Gogh, w ho died at 37. in 1890. had one of the briefest careers in art history. first

It

spanned only 10 vears

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

of these, the

four were devoted almost exclusively to drawing. But the volume

of his output was astonishing. Close to 1.700 of his works survive,

most 900 drawings and more than 800 paintings, made bursts of creation that sometimes saw

him produce

in

a canvas a

weeks on end. During his lifetime he sold only one painting

among use':''" The

equivalent of S80). and tion,

"But what's the

his last recorded

use. of course,

al-

volcanic out-

dav for (for the

words was the ques-

became apparent within

25 years after his death. Together with Paul Cezanne. Georges Seurat

and Paul Gauguin. thers of \

modern

\

an Gogh

is

now ranked

as

one of the founding

fa-

art.

an Gogh drew these sketche? of

him~elf

in

Pan? when he was

3

Nan Gogh's work

1.

is

of

an extremely personal sort. With the ex-

countryman Rembrandt, no other

seven years after beginning hi~

ception

career as an artist. Such draw ings

produced more self-portraits (more than 40). His landscapes,

were part of his learning process; in

teriors

probing "to develop the best and

most serious side" of

art.

some 40

and

his

still lifes

are in a sense self-portraits a^ well.

od to fuse what he saw. and what he

bv which

self-portraits

JW.

into the blue, yellow

178. 179).

door of a furnace. Three Self- Portraits, Pans. 1887

It

artist

has

figures, in-

was

his

meth-

as quickly as possible into

are so powerful that looking at one of his paintings can be like staring

most of them within only three years (pages

felt,

great

statements that were revelations of himself. His color and his warmth

he meant portraiture, he drew and painted

of

â&#x20AC;˘

of hell.

On

It is

and orange flames beyond the suddenly opened not that he had an apocalyptic vision of the

the contrary, few

men have

fires

ever had greater capacity to


give love, or greater need to receive

only in his ings he

art.

When

it.

Sadly, he could express his love

he sought to express

met onlv misunderstanding or

it

human bemav have a blazing

directly to other

hostility. ""One

hearth in one's soul." he wrote, ''and yet no one ever comes to

bv

sit

Passersbv see only a wisp of smoke rising from the chimnev and con-

it.

tinue on their way."

w,

he was alive Nan Gogh was regarded as an exceedinglv

hile

ficult,

obstinate and even frightening man.

in his

grave for fourscore years, he

Now

dif-

that he has been safelv

widely viewed as a hero. To an

is

age that seems dedicated to the obliteration of the individual, he stands

out as an early anti-establishment resistance fighter of the

rank.

first

It

own life, but not until he had fought harder, against greater odds, than a man can reasonably be expected to do. He saw the world as an intolerable botch, something God had put together true that he took his

is

"in a hurry on one of His bad davs." and he took the only honorable

doomed

course: a

Moreover, he did not consider himself a

struggle.

more authentic.

hero, which makes his bravery even able that

I

shall

have

to suffer a great deal yet,"

the honest truth, under no circumstances do

For

reer.

I

"It

very prob-

is

he wrote, "and to

tell

long for a martvr's ca-

I

have always sought something different from heroism, which

Vincent smother, vnna Carbentus van Gogh, i-

revealed

son

-

in

the photograph above and in her

affectionate portrait below a> a lively

woman

\

incent, she ÂŤj~ especiall)

a-- a boy. She once became when her mother-in-law boxed little

protective of him

Furious

\ incent's car- lor '

an Cogh

between the two

some minor

a loll

da\ to

women

offense.

It

make peace

in hi>

took

do not have, which

again.

u ith a >en>c of humor. Ha\ ing lost a

child before

Pastor

I

certainly admire in others, but which,

consider neither

I

He was works

I

my

duty nor

"\ an Gogh" but merelv "\ incent."

by saying that his last

made

in

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not

indeed he did sign them

in

vou

tell

I

ideal."

often inclined to belittle himself in other ways.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; when

home.

my

He

signed his

"\ incent van Gogh" or

He once attempted

to pass this off

France, where his greatest paintings were produced,

name was unpronounceable. But in fact, his earlier Holland, also bear only the name "\ incent." It is

paintings,

though

as

he was always sending urgent, affectionate messages to someone, any-

who might be kind enough

one,

His Christian names were

to accept

\

incent

and the "Gogh" probablv derived from

man

border.

Among

his ancestors

utives, consuls, goldsmiths

and

was born on March 30, 1853.

him

as a friend.

\\ illem. after his

a small

were various preachers,

a successful sculptor in

grandfathers,

town on the Dutch-Gerstate exec-

He

a solid lot.

the village of Groot Zundert in the

Dutch province of North Brabant near the southern (Belgian)

frontier.

His father, Theodorus, was pastor of a small Dutch Reformed church.

Theodorus was

called "the

handsome dominie" and was beloved

parishioners, hut he was not o\ erly gifted all

the "promotions"

lage io another.

similarly mild

in mi

Vincent's mother.

and uninspired

\\

ith intelligence

I

i-

or eloquence

career were lateral, from one obscure

soul.

It

vil-

\nna Cornelia Carbentus, was is

common

Van Gogh's parents with a wave of the hand

miss i

in his

b) his

correct. Their bourgeois outlook on

life,

and per hafts with

it>

that judg-

narrow

-in

i

tided

emphasis on proprieties and outward appearances, was the opposite his

own. But

it

is

It is

man)

oi

onl\ lair Io -a\ thai the parents were \er\ decent peo-

ple in their fashion;

son. so did

a

lor biographers to dis-

if

the) had difficult) understanding their remarkable

ot hers.

an equall) presumptuous business

in

indulge

in

posthumous

psy-


v

choanalysis of tried

One

it.

V

has been noted

fact that

is

I

Van Gogh children, he was

dest of the

hirth. to the very day, his

and also named

l><>\.

number

an Gogh, although a

of accredited experts ha*

although

fiat

no1 the

first.

mother was delivered

\ irieent

\\

was

\ in cent

One

t

year before his

another child, also

of

e

fie el-

diem van Gogh. He was

a

Stillborn. His

grave was near the church door, which the second Vincent, with the iden-

name and

tical

same birthday, walked

the

past ever)

Sunday of his child-

hood. This could not have been pleasant, and there the

in

Van Gogh family papers

m

was mentioned often

Vincenl

bearing on In- "guill feelings

s

girls,

a

statement

flat

dead predecessor

to

in-

doubt.

the family of Pastor Theodorus,

in

but of these only one was of great importance

whose

Vincent: Then,

is

presence. Bu1 whether thai had an)

here were several other children

two boys and three to

of the

or his supposed sense of being "an

adequate usurper"' remains wide open I

name

that the

was inextricably and tragically

life

W

twined with that of his elder brother.

inter-

ithout the support and almost

superhuman understanding of Theo, four years younger, Vincents and indeed his \- to older

and uncles,

would have come

life

relatives,

all

of

Vincent was plentifully supplied with aunt-

them exemplary

men who became

military

art

to nothing.

Two

citizens.

One

generals.

ol

his

aunts married

of his uncles achieved the

highest rank in the navy, vice-admiral, and served as

\

commandant

incenl

..in

Amsterdam navy

the

yard.

one of them,

cessful art dealers, and a fortune. "I rule

firm of Goupil

&

No fewer than

three other uncles were suc-

named

also

\

incent, accumulated

Cent," as he was called, was a partner

Cie.,

which

in

addition to

in

headquarters

its

the French

in Paris

had

branches in The Hague, London. Brussels and Berlin. (The well-known

\ew York

art gallery,

M. Knoedler

&

man who

Co., was founded by the

-

father, the

Reverend

I

heodorus

ol

was Goupil's American agent.) Uncle Cent was not only rich; he was

Gogh, was a handsome man,

photograph shows. 15m

Ik- \\;i-

.1-

eloquent preacher, and spent his 36-year ministry in out-of-the-wa) villages. Vincent

drawing (belou

),

done

uncompromising!) shows the effects (in Ins father.

and -mi

and there was reason for the family

one day make young

A,sa

V

to

suppose that he would

".1- not intimate.

incent his heir.

bo) Vincent displayed a good deal of charm. Red-haired, freck-

with pale blue eves that sometimes deepened to green, he was fond

led,

of collecting beetles

for inventing

and vacant birds nests, and had an amiable knack

games. His younger brothers and sisters loved his com-

pany; alter one particularly pleasant day. they formally made him present of a rosebush that happened to be growing den.

I)ii

1

\

in

incenl was also stubborn and hot-tempered, given to

contrary behavior. He once modeled a small elephanl a

when

striking sketch ol a cat, hut

mediately destro) ed them. \t

12

was sent

fie

to

It

hoarding school

15 miles away. His father could

become con\ meed

thai his

ill

in (lav

his parents praised

likel) thai

is

t

fie

in

a

their father's garst

ranged

and made

them, he im-

praise embarrassed him.

the village of Zevenbergen.

afford the

expense hut seems

to

have

son was getting too "rough"" through his

as-

sociation with the peasant boys of Grool Zundert. The separation from his famil) lie

tle

known

is

such an age doubtless

at

wrote touchingly of his JO)

years

of his

emerged from

it

education

at

mark on Vincenl.

In later

reunion with his father.

V er\ lit-

left

at

its

Zevenbergen, beyond the

fact

thai he

with a vast appetite for reading, for the remainder of

\ incent's

ol

The relationship between

Reformed minister r.m

-

in 1881.

.1

I

disciplined

renegade beha\

father

he stolid Dutch

household, and often disapproved

childless,

his

not an

i>>r.

ol


his life

many

he was fascinated by books. They appear, with legible

of his paintings, and he read

them with what may

thought that La Case de VOncle lorn

(I ncle

to

but also

Tom's Cabin) was a noble

Homer, the French moralist Ernest

piece of literature. Keats, Voltaire,

historian Jules Michelet had V incent's utmost respect

but he rated their w ritings no

more highly than he

Carol. \ incent's taste in art

was equally

would give 10 years of

did Dickens" Christmas

He once

startling.

said that he

his life for the privilege of being allowed to

two weeks with a loaf of bread

for

seem

at first

He admired Shakespeare,

be a curious lack of discrimination.

Renan and the

titles, in

in front

sit

of Rembrandt's magnificent

number of long-forgotten hacks who A common denominator can be found, how-

Jewish Bride, but he also revered a

made magazine

illustrations.

ever, in most of the writers and artists Vincent admired: thev dealt

with the destitute and downtrodden.

It

did not matter that the treat-

ment was often oozily sentimental and patronizing; what moved him was the subject.

A,

16 Vincent

t

school, probably because of financial pressure.

left

Through the influence of Uncle Cent V incent's

of nature

mother, Anna, expressed her love

m

needlework and

the flower stud) below,

in

draw ingS

which she did

1

&

a place

1.

Vincent's pencil drawing o£ a plant (above),

headquarters also dealt

is

noncontroversial

was found

The Hague. Goupil's was

Cie. at

artists.)

contemporary

in

for

him

in

the of-

a conservative house,

famous paintings. (The Par-

specializing in well-made reproductions of

like

in IK

of Goupil

fice

onlv

but

originals,

At Goupil's he went to work with a

b)

will, dis-

probabl) copied from a book, suggests ln>

mother's influence, \saboj Vincent wasnol thought artistically gifted, but here he reveals fine

draftsmanship for an

1

1

-year-old.

playing none of the "eccentricities" that would later

wretched.

He enjoyed his job and was apparently in The Hague for about three

Vincent had been

and soon thereafter the two brothers

visit,

began

to

exchange

successful at

years

life

W

hen

it.

— they were then

for a

19 and 15

letters.

Only 36 of Theo's

letters

have been preserved, but 661 of Vincent's

bers of the family and to friends, also exist.)

The

to other

superb autobiography. The

mem-

letters are so vivid in

and so revealing of V an Gogh's innermost feelings

stitute a

his

Theo came

were carefully kept by Theo. (Another 135, addressed

style

make

that they con-

few items in the correspondence

first

are short and simple: Vincent dispenses brotherly advice, suggesting that

Theo take up pipe smoking "as

he study the work the letters art.

Many

become of

the) span an

July 1890.

a

remedy

full

of intimate explanations of

them are thousands of words l8-\ear period, beginning

The

for the blues."

and

that

of various writer- and painters. In time, however,

last letter to

in

in

\

an Gogh

length, and

VugUSl

1

87l2

Theo, unfinished, was found

s life

and

together

all

and ending in \

in

an Gogh's

pocket after he had shot himself.

When he was 20 Vincent was to the 4

.

/S44

ransferred, with a fine recommendation,

1

London branch of Goupil's. He was sorrj i<> leave Holland, but can unlie w rote, would "be splendid lor m\ English, |w hich]

London,

I

derstand well enough, hut

.

.

.

cannot speak as well as

I

should wish."

He lou ud a room in tin' home of a w idowed Frenchwoman, \lr». Loyer, who with her daughter rsula kept a small da\ school lor boys, and for a time his letters to Theo were lull of cheer. \\c planted a flower garden I

for the Lovers,

the

roamed happily through London, enjo\ed boating on

Thames and went

so,

far as to

buy a top

hal

"you cannot be

in Lon-


don without one." He

made

also

his landlady's daughter.

rsula,

I

a grievous miscalculation in regard to

and thus hegan the

first

of hi> several

women. He fell in love with the girl, hut e\ tell her. Throughout his life Van Cogh was

disastrous encounters with identlv did not hother to

given to weaving dreams

he wanted

girl

to be;

which he saw the world not

when he exposed

as

was but as

it

dreams he was devastated

his

to

no one shared them. In the case of Ursula he assumed that

find that

the

it

in

-

returned his love, or,

soon as he stated his

feelings.

at

the least, that she would return

When

at last

it

as

he did, after about a year,

he discovered that the thought of loving him had never entered her head.

Although others may

find

the childishly optimistic

congruous hat and Vincent was

to

something

comic

faintly

young Dutchman with

in

the picture of

his thick accent, his in-

blow

his lack of perception of the girl's feelings, the

terrific.

In the

wake of

his rejection he

moved

to other

quarters where he lived alone, rarely seeing anyone and writing

dom.

When

sel-

he did communicate, his letters contained enigmatic Biblical

quotations and fragments of melancholy poetry copied from whatever

book he happened his health;

one of

to be reading.

His parents became concerned about

his uncles visited

London, and apparently returned

The word "peculiar" began to be Cent arranged for him to be transferred

with a gloomy report.

applied to him.

In 1875 I ncle

to the Paris of-

fice in

the hope that his spirits might be revived by a change in scene.

As he departed London, well aware that

his familv

and employers took

This photograph shows

shoulders

ol a

dim view of

his behavior,

Vincent closed a

from Ernest Renan that was to become

his

merely to be happy, nor even

this earth

letter with a

own

credo:

to be

quotation

"Man

is

not on

He

simply honest.

is

there to realize great things for humanitv. to attain nobility and to survulgarity in which the existence of almost

all

individuals

drags on."

In

Paris

.~-

1

1

^

l>\

religious brooding increased.

holida\ -i-ter-

s at

home, teasing

well.

at

hymns.

\

incent

at

Young Gladwell had

in

Montmartre

named Harry Glad-

religious leanings too, but

seems

have

to

been overwhelmed bv Vincent, who was well on the way to becoming a

fa-

Of nights. Vincent read the Bible aloud ("We intend to read it the way through"). He became increasingly careless in his work. He

natic. all

dissuaded customers from buying pictures of which he did not approve, and at the height of the Christmas buying season in 1875, he

went his

off to

own

swered

Holland to

visit his

parents.

W

hen he returned he provoked

dismissal by asking the manager a question that could be anin

only one way: were there any complaints against

was given three months* notice, perhaps

in

He

him'.''

deference to his

ncle

I

Cent's status, and thus six years of training as an art dealer came to an end. There was no visible regret on Vincent's part: he was not yet a rebel, but a dropout. a soft breeze

makes

it

To Theo he wrote fall

from the

tree;

only,

"When

the apple

ripe,

is

such was the case here.

.

.

|>la\lul

at

during

for

them

and

in

the

school, \ incent gave no inklinn

of later artistic genius, and

Theo, who by that

roomed

Goupil's, a British youth

hu<l

ÂŤ heat held- and pine forests of Brabant. In

ployed by Goupil's in Brussels, was bombarded with more verses from the Bible and the full texts of

He

.'<.

his brothers

and inventing games

time had also had the benefit of Uncle Cent's intercession and was em-

with a fellow-employee

I

an arresting,

made no

friends anions his classmates.

Van Gogh's

at

and h ithdrawn

boarding school, he was more

four year-

mount the

incenl

countrj youth, but these

features wen- dominated

melancholy gaze.

a

\

the touted hair, rutlch complexion and broad

.

II

la-tuiL


He was almost

unemployed, and had not the

23.

panying illustrations

to his letters,

ously of becoming an

Through want ads

in

boarding school

Ramsgate.

at

\

some way of persuading Ur-

find

incent decided to return to England.

was a place that Dickens might have

It

room with the

from

a

"window with broken

room and board, but no

salarv.

months he

German and

arithmetic, and

mv

altered

though scarcely

it.

time

was an impossible situation and

It

.

is

at a

pret-

few

in a

money

for the better as far as

concerned. He took another teaching job

a-

v.

."" .

panes.""

and worked hard. Dur-

hours he kept an eve on the bovs. "so that

well taken up.

t\

rel-

rotten floor" where the bovs bathed at

light

ing the day he taught elementary French. after school

>eri-

the British press he found a job as a teacher in a

washstands under the dim

incent was given

\

accom-

have thought

wrote of numerous insects, of dark stairways and

\ incent

passages, of "the -i\

to

as

arti-t.

sula Lover to change her mind.

ished.

he seems not

hoping perhaps that he mi^ht

Still

what he

slightest idea

would do next. Although he had frequently made sketches

school in Isleworth.

near London, where the pav was verv low but his duties were closer to Ii

he taught Bible classes and was occasionallv allowed to preach

heart

i>

at a local

mons.

It

sent

Theo the

speaks of the hardness of man's

"we

of Cod. and concludes that

In

He

Methodist chapel.

December 1876.

after

are

all

text of

one of

brothers."

months of genteel semistarvation.

went home for the holiday. His parents, who now lived ish in Etten, It

may

would be pointless

it

not know."" said

natural thim.'-. I

small par-

in a

for

him

to return to

Eng-

once again Lncle Cent was called upon. Lncle Cent, a hard-

headed businessman, was disappointed I

\ incenl

were appalled by his distraught and emaciated appearance.

wa- decided that

land, and

his ser-

on earth, of the benevolence

lot

\

incent "Supernatural things

in \

:

nele Cent, "but

I

I

incent. for his part, had

know evervthing about some reservations about

rule Cent and quoted the French writer Sainte-Beuve in regard to

whom

him: "In most men there exists a poet who died voung.

the

man

survived.

Nevertheless, the uncle used his influence once again.

tin-

time

Vincent a job as a clerk

But his

to get .-pirit

ua> not

bookstore

employment; the job

his

in

in a

Dordrecht.

in

lasted

than

less

four months.

some

\lan\ years later the son of the bookstore manager offered

He

teresting recollections ol Vincent as a bookseller's clerk. thai

Vincent spent hi- "working"" hours surreptitiously translating the

Bible into French, ol

German ami

English, and that he also

which the bookseller did not approve

a little tree with a lot of

when

in-

recalled

\

incenl

old desk,

warded.)

"silly pen-and-ink drawings,

branches and side branches and tw

became famous, the bookseller's

hoping

to

made sketches

find

a

lew

such

sill)

-ÂŤ>n

ilt -.

ransacked

sketches, bui

i

\

later,

incenl

was not

s

re-

Vnother acquaintance from the Dordrecht days was

schoolteacher,

P. C. Corlit/.

boardinghou.se. Corlit/ remembered thai

V incenl because

a young room in a with Vincent a Fellow hoarder- made fun ol

who shared

"at table he said length)

itent Iriar: for instance,

prayers and ate

he would QOl take meat. ura\\.

1

etc.

1

ki-

a pen-

\ml then

12

-


'

had an abstracted expression

his face always

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; pondering,

deeply

se-

rious, melancholy."'

Bv the time it

employment

his

the bookstore had been terminated,

in

was plain that Vincent's destiny was

to

become

clergyman

a

Vincent thought. His family questioned whether,

least.

at

or so,

he

at 24,

could apply himself to the rigorous studies that were required; nevertheless, they rallied

the ministry in

around him.

was arranged that he study

It

Amsterdam, and he went

to live with

tor

his uncle Jo-

hannes, the admiral. The family engaged a tutor, Mendes da Costa, a

who was only

fine scholar

began lessons

in Latin

order to prepare himself for theo-

in

The two young men

examinations.

logical-school

and Vincent

a few years older than Vincent,

and Greek

along well,

got

although there was a certain incongruity in their relationship: Da Cosreadying his pupil for the Christian ministry, was a Jew.

ta,

V

Costa noted

in a

came too much

memoir

of 1910. "After a short time the Greek verbs be-

for him.

However

might

I

might invent to enliven the lessons, sav a

Da

incent studied diligently, but the effort was foredoomed. As

.

.

.

you seriously believe

"do

man who wants

to

and reconcile them

The tutor

do what

1

it

set

about

it,

whatever trick

I

was no use. "Mendes,' he would

that such horrors are indispensable to

want

to do: give

to their existence

peace to poor creatures

here on earth?'

secretly agreed, but could not say so aloud. V incent

would

try again, "but before long the trouble would start afresh, and then he

would come

to

well,

"Mendes,

night

I

me

in the

last

night

morning with an announcement I

used the cudgel again,'

got myself locked out again.'

continued,

""that this

.

.

.

W henever

had strayed farther than they should

have, he took a cudgel to bed with him and belabored his back with

it;

and whenever he was convinced that he had forfeited the privilege he slunk out of the house [and

spending the night

in his bed,

the floor of a

wooden shed, without bed or

to

do this

A,

.fter

in

little

the winter.

more than

.

.

so

last

should be observed," Da Costa

was some sort of self-chastisement.

that his thoughts

V incent felt

It

knew

I

"Mendes,

or,

blanket.

He

ol

on

slept]

preferred

."

a year of study with

Da

he did not even attempt the examinations.

Costa, Vincent gave up; It

was not

in

Latin and

Greek, he thought, that he would find the necessary knowledge to help

him

in

comforting mankind, but

"'at

versity of misery." In August 1878

the free course in the great uni-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he was then 25 years old â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he en-

rolled in a training school for lay preachers in Brussels.

the school were not full-fledged ministers, but received tion to enable

them

to spread the

Graduates

enough

ol

instruc-

Gospel and do missionary work among

the poor. The school accepted Vincent on a probationary basis. He was

given to understand that sion

somewhere

in

if

he performed well he might be assigned a mis-

One of his felwhen V incent was

Belgium. But he did not perform well.

low students recalled that during a

grammar

lesson,

asked whether a word was nominative or dative, he replied. "Oh. I

really don't care." At the

sir.

conclusion of the probationary period, no

mission was offered to him. Instead, with such small support as his father could gi\e.

Van Gogh went unsponsored

to the

grim coal-min-

13


ing region in southern Belgium called the Borinage, hoping thai

work was satisfactory, he mighl I

his

il

Formal assignmenl

receive a

later

rom he school. i

Van Gogh

from the Borinage arc vividly descriptive. "Ev-

letters

-

erywhere around one sees the coal

chimneys and the immense heaps

liijz

the entrance to ihc mines.

at

.

.

Mosl

.

ol

miner- arc thin and

ol itic

pale from lexer anil look tired and emaciated, weatherbeaten and pre-

women

mature!) aged, the

whole laded and worn. Round the mine

as a

are poor miners huts with a few smoke-blackened dead

working

cubicles

in little

the

dim

lighl of

at

dance

last

lamps "reflected as

appoint |{ui

was

Brussels

men

|

a

lav

-

at a

\ in cent

Vccordingl)

rective.

fie

He gave awa\

cave."

lor a lime

-Inrl.

lie

six-month

a

soon began

II*'

tor an injured

him ciel

lor

him

to

a

v

H

man

in a

room

wretched shack where he

dismissed

in

own

to

I

hi- time,

\

di-

in a

baker's

slept

on the

had Outfitted

lest

he seem

he needed bandages

linen. Ills superiors

incent's brother

had done well

whom

\incent mighl

in

t

reproached

incent thai he

become an

Theo was

-cut to reason

Goupil

On

ol

hi- parent-

indeed.

artist.

re-

he firm

Theo had

listen.

Vincent and recognized his potential \

thai

he paid no heed. Finally, the missionai

-ound voung man. the mainsla\ of

a

Van Gogh gested to

When

'"Sell

homemade sack-

lace.

his

in

the Borinage, living on 'crusts. Vpparentl) as the

conference,

with him. Theo. In

and was

trial

film.

eremained

sult of a famil)

remain on

he lore up his lÂťui

so-

straightforward

out of his comfortable

the begrimed miner-.

"excessive zeal,"

an

had

tO lake the pre-

though the) wen- Gospel.

the COal dust

conspicuous among

in

fie

$10 a month.

the clothing with which his farnilv

lei

nursed

lie

thought

him, replacing it with a secondhand military tunic and a cloth

or like the par-

.

coal on horse-drawn carls

was given

lie

salarv of

as

moved

house and look up lodging floor.

.

and disease. He preached

poor" seemed

to the

it

.

read In- Bible with too literal an eye

New Testament

and give

horn hedg-

had been born. The missionary

lie

impressed;

prcaclicr

unfortunately,

thou hast,

beehive

a

in a stalactite

fires

the opinion ol the missionary society.

cepts ol the

m

school and

hall, -tailed a Bible

found the work lor which in

ciety

t

mile, lo waleli the miners

a

liall

the cells

'"like

the victims of explosions, cave-ins, old

rees,

.

He saw children loading

titions in a crypt." in

.

wenl deep undergrnij nd. almost

lie

i

."

dunghills, ash heaps, slag.

es,

&

great affection lor

heo had alrcad\

I

tin-

V

Cie.

and the only

i-il.

sug-

however, Theo

was obliged to carr) out the family's wishes and presenl Vincent with various helpful idea-.

Might

it

carpenter, bookkeep \

\\ as \

incent nol too loud ol In ing in "idleness"?

not be well to consider sr

a

i

areer as

incent was hard-pressed to reply.

wrote Theo. "that this

what

difficult for

er or later,

art

engraver, perhaps, or

is

"Ma)

I

observe,

me to defend myself, but

vou could not -ee

ii

I

Ii

should be ver) sorrj

differently."

submerged, withdrawing into an obscurit)

I

he subsequentl)

a rather Btrange -ort ol 'idleness ?

is

Borne-

if,

soon-

Soon afterward Vincent

thai

etrated, lie did not write to hi- hrolhcr lor nine

I

a

or baker?

has never been pen-

month-, during which


he seems sis.

have passed through

to

He remained

ter of four

the Borinage, hut precisely

in

and clothe himself

not

is

know

human

newed, hut

One can

beings.

stay in

to Iced

surfaced again,

in a let-

must not be done

it

.

.

hi- anal-

t

and

in public

is

.

one can also emerge

.

not

is

it

be

.

.

re-

amusing;

at all

to hide oneself. Well, so

is

in

adversity or misfortune it

cri-

how he managed

at last lie

to hirds. so

i>

therefore the onl\ thing to do

When

hen

n. \\

thousand words, he wrote Theo of his withdrawal

ogy: "\\ hat molting time for us

fearsome menial and emotional

a

it."

he emerged from this "'molting time," Vincent's religious

fa-

naticism had disappeared, to be replaced by a burning wrath against the organized Church.

same

must

*"I

There

as with artists.

you

tell

that with evangelists

men who wear

tyrannical, the accumulation of horrors, steel

armor of prejudices and conventions.

Church establishment.

way

to

."

.

.

But

a cuirass, a

in rejecting the

incent only drew closer to the heart of Chris-

know Cod

to

you

like

knowing more about Him:

that

is

something

many

to love

is

— whate\er

friend, a wife,

the

\

way

'"The best

tianity.

the

is

it

an old academic school, often detestable,

is

Love

things.

a

[and] you will be on

what

1

say to myself. But

one must love with a loft) and serious intimate sympathy, with strength, ."

w ith intelligence.

I

t

was during

his decision to

.

his

.

"molting time"

in

the Borinage that Vincent reached

become an artist. He began by making sketches of the

miners and their surroundings, but realized that he was

needof instruction. a

man "would

If

hecould

an established

get

be as one of God's angels to me.

I

artist to

say this in

in

coal-

desperate

help him. such all

seriousness

and without exaggeration." Accordingly he tried to make contact with

someone whose work appealed

him, Jules Breton, a French poet and

to

painter he had met during his days at Coupil's. Breton lived in Courrieres.

many

miles from the Borinage, and Vincent, with only 10 francs in his

pocket, had to in

make the journey on

foot.

He

slept in the

open

"once

air.

an abandoned wagon, which was white with frost the next morning

rather a bad resting place; once in a pile of fagots; and one time that was

where

a little better, in a haystack,

comfortable berth

my

— but

I

succeeded

making

in

more

a rather

then a drizzling rain did not exactly further

well-being."

Upon

reaching Breton's studio,

pearance

to

"a Methodist regularity." ing Breton, and arrived

\

incent was too intimidated by

the building had what

knock on the door

He walked back

\

its

ap-

incent called

to the Borinage without see-

home, he wrote Theo, "overcome by

fatigue,

with sore feet, and quite melancholy." But in the depth of his miser\

he

felt his

energy revive, "and

shall rise again:

I

great discouragement, and

I

said to myself, in spite of everything

up my

will take I

will

pencil,

which

go on with

ment everything has seemed transformed

I

have forsaken

my

drawing.

From

for

me, and

I

will

in

that

I

my mo-

go on."

Theo. as he always would do, offered to help. Although today there are

many

altruists-after-the-fact

unteered their aid they would have as ever

came

if

who imagine

that they too might have vol-

they had only been present, the likelihood

fled at

straggling

the mere sight of Vincent.

down

the highroad of

art.

He was

as

is

poor

that

a risk


A,

.s

a

young man Vincent van Gogh's strongest

The

compulsion was to love and help mankind. The son of a

up

minister, he chose quite naturally to take

he had been successful as an for several years, he might

religion. If

evangelist, as he tried to be

have drawn and painted as a

Eye

hobbv but he almost surely would not have become an artist.

His evangelical mission, however, was a disaster.

anything, he tried too hard. At the age of 25,

Compassionate

If

when he

went out to serve the peasants and coal miners of the Borinage, in southern Belgium, his

and

his

manner was

devotion to Christ's teachings so

so intense, that he

literal,

antagonized his clerical superiors and probablv frightened the people he wanted to help. Although he loved

humanity, he could not communicate with individuals and. at 27, he turned to art to

was

a logical choice.

communicate

for him.

From childhood, he had made

It

little \

sketches

<>l

ferns, flowers

and things around

his

home. He

occasionally illustrated his letters will) rough drawings.

Furthermore,

was

art

a respected

occupation

in his family;

an Gogh's

was

artistic heritage

Dutch. Like the Lowland painters of two centuries earlier, he infused

commonplace scenes

Holland

ol

w ith a ureal sense of their reality

various uncles

and

were

But

(niii

art dealer-.

later his I

he major reason

his

\

an Gogh

mi ted himself to being an artist was that through art

a qualit)

beyond accurac)

tradition

is

drawing al

apparent

.

I

lu-

the

in

reminiscent of a

right

I

he could pour out his feelings. hard

younger brother Theo

life

<Âť|

in this

he could not

the poor Dutch peasant,

compassion

was his wa)

II

to

a

m

at least

alle\ iate the

he could show

draw ingsand paintings. Perhaps this

communion with Cod.

crucible thai his

art

was formed.

In an) case, ,

it

was

landscape b)

Hobbema

in

the figure of a peasant

is

securelj rooted

flat

in

the

countryside as arc the

tall,

trees that line hi- road.

{venue o) Poplars. March

:

which

as

bare


17


-*•<

"/ sometimes flunk there

nothing so delightful

drawing. This .

.

.

is

M

( j

is

(is

a fragment

of a church bench

.

.

I

.

sate in a little church in the

Geest,

where the people from

the workhouse call

go (here they

them very expressit

el)

r

'orphan men and 'orphan

women

uttttmtiit'uiai.iLi/rn frx*A

)."

built,

6-OM^U^v

•"•

" //us

ii

n7,

H atenolol little

s

/

fail e

(/one a /en

»»/ »/ doors, a

cornfield

and

l«ui ol a potato

a small

field,

and

I

^li tt

have also limn n a /en landscapes ns studies

t.

**«^M» Vt*~

.V<

V

»^>,

/<" the

surroundings oj a feu figure limit nigs

These are

/ iiiii

i

e/

1

n/ those figure

topmost a

ceils,

!

planning hast) sketches

limn

ingS.

the burning

I

aii *v^

he

A

t>!

the oihci one, the

/*

I

-it

return from the potato field."

v».,-*

18

I

J

V«M

/

^7

/^v

**»

•»/!

V •'»!«»-

e\Ji

*>

VM*.

>


I n his short letters,

life \

an Gogh

\\

rote nearlv a

word.- were not as

thousand

often several a day. Most were written to his

he once wrote

who

brother Theo. possibly the one person

in

understood him. Onlv to Theo could

an Gogh describe

\

the world

the impressions and feelings that boiled within him. letters are extraordinary: literary critics

them

to the

The

ha\e compared

works of the great 19th Century Russian

masters of "confessional"" writing. But even as he was writing so expressively \ an

n

Gogh apparently

<f iÂť<>/\.

yx^u

felt

that

V(A<^l*i

I

\ i\

heo,

id "'I

a- pictures. "Strangel)

almost againsl m\ will."

showed up

in his letters.

Man)

of these -mall sketches

\t lir-t

the) were mostly raw

and amateurish, but by 1885. after working

artist for five years, the)

miniature letters to

art.

jyo

\

an Gogh had been a

had become powerful

Excerpts from some of the later illu-trated

Theo appear here and on the next two

The accompanying caption-

fi**

KlLV Ku^u

enough,"

sometimes make -mall -ketches

*tr+wl *V0M*J

pages.

are \ an Gogh's.

t*.

"

I

he Utile sketch

uhnt

rtl :>

today.

I stiu

/

don't think

enough by the

ilrau

it

it

In

rif>e

as to light

was

indi

lor YOU here. 7 is

.

was

effect, anil

at the bottom little

m\ study

yet. but I

and shade,

.

.

mu

reality, that earth

he one

a ten.

cornfield in the .ml.

ami

u

it'

. behind the cot

two pili glimpse

t>

11/

light sky."

19

e

:m a

heath, and


am up

"I

work.

to

my ears

Today

almshouse

in

the

man again

posed for a thing that suddenly fell

make

before

I

I

had

started

anything

else. I

must

you that

went

to the

I

I

to

tell

visiting

Then

I

day after

all.

sau the small

-^

<

~W»

^

J

him from the window. ell. I

and

go.

could not I

-

c

I

I

fixed on paper

//'"/

t (*v*»*NVli Ks\S*

t

J

v

W

that

can remember.

"/ (AinA a

let

have got as

much of it «.s I

f-V»

I

and hare drawn

gardener,

II

cj.^ ^^;- ^' ^f

„, U^l <^

almshouse again on a

.,

,

i<-

~?

^cl

vo v k

Crv*-i

i

c

,U.f'

fuvv") 5

vimi' people

ho are good obsen

era oj

nature might like (my bird's nests) because "I the ,

olors id the moss, the drj

leal ei

and

the grasses 5

20

; Iu/I.m ,y

.'<

kLl

'••

***•«

« >t

(.<

.

.

c

i

'

IbV^ V,

l~*

^^ *-t*A


"I painted a stud)

.

on

.

.

tome

the beach. There are

sea dikes or moles, piers,

and

jellies,

er)

i

picturesque ones, loo,

modi' oj weather-beaten stones

and

vit lion

u ickerwork.

and painted until I

had

m i

it

the rising

came

to

I

on one oj them

it

so

near that

move m\ things

a hurrj

Between the

.

Mage and

the beat h an'

bushes ol n deep bronzed green, tangled b) "

u tnd. ...

streetcar

I

running then- nou

.

one

/c/v

equipment or net

studies to carry

"This path

tin-

it

when

within easy reach

is

t^

so

home.

j sketch}

a

is

of

lo the heath.

\/v

thoughts were with you

during the walk."

all

'

.

\J !j

V

.

t <>

t

|

-

VUs^

"Ifyou hear a

voire

within mhi saying,

'

)ou

are not a iminler.' then

hv

all

and

means

paint, bor.

that voire will be

silenced.

.

.

.

One must

undertake [nor,. confidence, with a certain

assurance thai

doing a reasonable thins, like the

his

farmer who drives

plow, or

like

our friend

who

in

the scratch below,

is

harrowing, and even

lt

one hasn't a horse, one

is

one's

_

21

the

harrow

own

hi-

horse.


r

Peasant "

I n choosing his earlj subjecl matter, Van

scorned the gloss) and the show receptions April

thing and

make

22

in I'ari^." as

IHH."). IkI

he pui

the "Cardinal

\

it.

In a letter to

w role. "Painting peasant

should reproach mj

Gogh

self

il

I

I

life is a

did not

result nl thai feeling In a

s

heo

in

serious

trj

pictures which will arouse serious thoughts,

fne

as

in

Gogh

I88.1

the two figures on these ol straw

emphasized the massive hips, the

as strong as an old tree, the difficult

uncomfortable posture.

to

,

drawing of the woman tying a shea!

(above), \ an

arms

shows

oman Tying a Shea] summer 01

The woodcutter

and at right

tough and weathered as his crumpled pant-.

\

seems an Gogh


The

was intrigued by the clothes of working peasants, for he felt

that their faded

homespun garments were

of their characters; he had no interest in their

"Sunday

,

best.*

even particularize their

human

in

revealing

seeing peasants

In these draw ings he did not faces.

He wanted

to

condition, not portray individuals.

show (heir

Van Gogh was aware ol thewa) these

II

oodcuuer, 1885

attitudes

separated him from his illustrious Dutch predecessors

who had

also

chosen commonplace subjects

lor their

paintings. " The figures in the pictures of the old masters

do not work," he action.

.

.

is

said.

"To draw

a peasant's figure in

the very core of modern art."

23


A,

.fter

pursued all

Van Gogh decided on

it

art as his career,

experience converged. The people in

he

single-mindedly. Basically self-taught, he did

the necessary exercises to perfect his technique and

He drew hundreds of detailed studies, like the hands below. He also applied himself to the disciplines

stvle.

of

still-life

drawing and painting until he could produce

stunningly realistic work, like the basket of potatoes

upper

right.

shapes

is

Van Gogh's control

of textures, tones and

so sure that the inert subject

alive. (Indeed,

one

art critic

at

somehow seems

wrote that the potatoes

'"seem to crawi over each other like blind puppies.") It

was

after five years of

such work that

\

an Gogh

created the masterpiece of his early period. The Potato Eaters

(

Ion er right,

and

this painting, all his

detail on the following pages). In

newly developed technique and

of the

manv

his years as

picture

is

are a composite

an evangelist and

a beginning artist. But the

no generality. In dark, earthen colors he gives

witness to the grim

life

of people to

whom dinner

consists of stabbing at boiled potatoes in a as a stable. In details like the gnarled,

and coarse features, the tenderness

but thoroughly

human

attests to a

reality. In years to

Gogh's subjects would change

room

as

crude

work-worn hands

in the eves of the girl

and the glow of orange lamplight, he

come.

harsh \

an

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he would seldom again

paint such graphic descriptions of the peasant's and the

workingman's sorrv still lifes

state.

But even

in his landscapes,

and portraits he would demonstrate

his

continuing dedication to a heightened expression of

Stud) ÂŤl Three Hands,

2\

it

peasants he had seen so compassionately in

Two Holding a

Fork, January-Februar)

life.

l<SH.">


Still Life

with Potatoes,

September 1885

The Potato Paters. April-Ma


"'

-J


»r

%

*

\-

>

d^

&M


1»H


II

A

Mission in Art

Having decided

at

come an

Van Gogh established

art ist.

long

He

of a Borinage coal miner. ther and I

commenced

at

last

that his mission in

27

jiaid

The Hague the manager

Goupil

of

in

the cottage

the rent w ith .-mail .-urn- sent b) hi-

From

-

him

to

branch

was actuall)

his '"studio""

miner'- children

textbooks on anat-

office -cut

bedroom

became apparent

it

other lodgings. Theo suggested that

work outdoors. With

that he

incent join

\

dim and

thai he shared with the

that he was often obliged to

autumn

the onset of

a

la-

Pari-.

study and copy, and from

perspective. But Vincent soon found his quarters so

cramped

to be-

life v\as

"studio"

fir-i

his education in a "rage of work."

'heo forwarded -heave- ol prints for

omy and

his

would have

him

in Paris,

to

find

but

\ in-

cent seems to have been reluctant to venture into what was then the center of the art world. Instead, in the fall of 1880. he

and mov ed into the cheapest hotel he could "\lv chief food,"

to Brussels

he wrote Theo, "is dr) bread and some potatoes or

chestnuts which people to his diet

went

find.

-ell

here on the street corner-.

may have merely been intended

not living in luxurv. hut

it

is

to assure

he reference

I

Theo

worth note. During mo-t of

that he

was

hi- adult life

Vincent was severely undernourished. Even when he had mone) lor food, he preferred to spend \

an Gogh painted (hi-

Pari-

from

a

apartment he -hand w the

iew of

\

window of the

Montmartre

se<

ith

tion oi

heo

I

i

he

in

cil

that he had ""lived mainly for four dav itablv

He ma) have

.

suffered

liluc

which he had studied

war. The red shutters,

rooftops, pale yellow buildings

gray-green -k\ hues mark a

Dutch

palette

brilliant color-

and

In- 'lark

foretell the

\

ii-ii

acrou

Room.

incent remained

in

for in his earlv thirties his teeth to

wear

n.

per-

to

Theo. At the time

in

the reorganization

I

ol

began

to

a false set.

Brussels during the winter of 1880-1881.

boriously struggling with his draftsmanship and reporting hiheo. a rising

la-

pr<'_

young businessman, was involved

Goupil's Pari- Âťallerv and failed to answer

cent'- letter- by return post. \ incent after several

\ in-

months became angT)

of his future work.

Paris, from

Paris, 1887

I

incent's

must -av.

he wrote,

""it

accountable that you have not w riiten

me

on mv arrival here. ... In thinking

ol

and I

dow

f.

Seurat's

permanent departure from

re-

on 23 cups of coffee,"

-

from one of the vitamin-deficiency diseases

haps a mild form of pellagra

atnl

He once

despite his powerful constitution, his health broke

break off and he was obliged

Pointilli -m.

art supplies.

marked

-how- the influence

â&#x20AC;˘luring the

on models and

and inev

Hi- use ol -liorl liru-h strol ol

it

spiteful.

"'I

seems rather strange and un-nice the one letter

vou.

I

I

received

unconsciousl) ask mv-

2Q


W

self.

hv doesn't he write?

sition w

it

this

if

ed until

I

afraid of

is

by keeping

in

compromising himself touch with

me â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is his

h those gentlemen so shaky and unstable that he

be so careful? Or

But

he

If

& Cie.

the eves of Messrs. Goupil

that he

is it

afraid that

is

was the reason for your

you might

silence,

at least

something out of you, as the saying

tried to squeeze

obliged to

is

ask him for

will

I

in

po-

money?

have waitgoes.*'

Theo did not reply in kind, and within a month the truth emerged. The money ostensibly coming from home was actuallv being supplied bv Theo. "I hear from Father."' wrote

vou have been sending me money

ing

it

mv

heartfelt thanks.

firmly believe

I

you

for a long time. will

mv know-

"that w ithout

\ incent.

not regret

.

it."'

.

Accept

.

\ incent's

gratitude and his agonized sense of dependence on his brother were later a

constant theme in his

letters.

him, and he lashed out bitterly

at

Occasionally the dependence galled

the mild, hard-working Theo. But in

time he reached the view that his brother should receive partial credit for his paintings, as

though he had shared

in their creation.

And when

incent committed suicide, one of the precipitating factors seems to

\

have been

he had somehow

his feeling that

Theo. and could no

failed

longer accept his support.

In

Brussels, through an introduction supplied by Theo. \ incent

the acquaintance of a wealthy

pard. an amiable but insignificant artist. \ an Rappard was at

by

\ incent,

the so

fields,

who was

and

startled

first

inclined to stop and stare at peasants laboring in

to shout.

"How

shall

I

ever manage to paint what

I

love

much?" But \ an Rappard soon realized that he was dealing with an exman and offered such help as he could although his

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

traordinary

teaching was limited largely to fundamentals.

other artists and

at

was

\ incent. in fact,

es-

Even though he occasionally sought help from

sentially self-taught.

times even attended formal art classes, he could

ne\ er abide for long the discipline of established authority. This to

made

young painter named Anton van Rap-

implv that he was a "primitive.*"

On

is

not

the contrary, the distortions in

perspective and the exuberance of color in his mature paintings are not in

the least inadvertent: they are the exquisitely calculated departures

from long-accepted ideas of a man solidly grounded Despite Theo's help.

proved

to be too great.

In

his parents'

"I

am

house

\

incent's

living

To save money he decided

at

in his cralt.

expenses to

willing to give in about dress or anything else to suit

because relativel) few people know win an

But

in

general, he

spots or figures

of \ i

Brussels soon

Etten, but he was uncertain of his reception.

wrote Theo. Even so, he expected to be misjudged: it,

in

spend the summer

who searches

all

*'I

art

i>t

\

kinds of places to find picturesque

I

is

accused

illainies thai have never entered his head.

peasant

here for an hour, thinks

lor

acts as he does.

holes and corners that another passes b\

many had intentions and who sees me draw an

them," he

blame no one

old tree trunk, and sees

have gone mad and

.

.

.

Iaugh>

at

me

sitting

me." Nev-

ertheless in \pril 1881. a lew weeks alter his 28th birthday, he went to

Etten w \t

ith

firsl

modest hopes. all

went well, and

the ferocious energ) thai

:ÂŤ)

\

mcenl hurled himsell

marked

into his

his entire career. "I

work with

have drawn

five


.

man

times over a

twice.

on

tatoes; a shepherd leaning less before nature, as

Among

slow.

...

with a spade

broom

twice, a girl with a

Then

positions, a sower

different

in

woman in a white cap, peeling po... now no longer stand help-

a

his staff.

I

used to do." Nevertheless, his progress was

I

the drawings from this period one of the most memorable

that of The

Sower

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; memorable not

but for

its

air of im-

minent explosion. The wooden-shoed peasant, his head too

large, his

is

arms too short, and on

major

angry desperation, seems

motion of spastic convulsion.

in a

of The Sower doubtless

came

Vincent from one of his

to

Jean-Francois Millet. But unlike the French paint-

artistic idols,

who ennobled and

er,

its skill,

his face a look of

about to scatter his apronful of seed

The theme

for

sentimentalized peasant labor, Vincent was already

groping toward an expression of kinship, anger and ruthless reality that Millet never attained. In the

tures like

it

hope that The Sower and other

pic-

might be salable, Vincent around this time indulged in one

of his few small vanities

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he signed some of his drawings "Atelier Vin-

cent." But he soon enough found out that there was no market for pictures of peasants that were not, as he put

Vincent had been

home

it,

for only a few

the second of his catastrophic affairs with ferred to her only as Kee.

Her

women.

In his letters he re-

name was Kee Vos and she was his Amsterdam preacher named Jan Striek-

full

cousin, the daughter of an

first

"perfumed."

months when there occurred

Recently widowed, accompanied by her four-year-old son, she had

er.

come rale.

to

spend a vacation

Vincent soon

by befriending her centric relative.

Van Gogh parsonage

in the

deeply in love with her.

fell

little

When

boy, and

Kee came

to recover her

He courted

to regard

him

mo-

her obliquely

as a gentle, ec-

he suddenly announced his passion for her, she

was dumfounded. No doubt

in the belief that

reply she could give him, she told

him

it

was the most charitable

that she never intended to

marry again. But Vincent could not accept

this,

and pressed

his case

with such frightening intensity that Kee in a panic cried out, "No, never, never!"

\

an Gogh's second disastrous

heart

was with Kee

Etten

in

that she

1881.

\ os,

Kee had

a

affair of the

widow he met

so loved her

in

husband

was overcome with unci when he

died. \ incent's effort:- to

amuse her young -on

while she was mourning touched her. but -he

V,incent

was quite unprepared

refused to believe that the "No, never, never!" was

He would,

with anatomizations of love.

filled

he wrote, clasp Kee to his breast as though she were a block of melt her, "for love as impossible for

own

for his ardent ad\ an> es.

Kee \ .."He was so kind to my little bo) said. "He fancied that he loved me." \\ hen .

His letters to Theo were

his

final.

is

something so positive, so strong, so

one who loves

Kee, for her part,

life."

her, refused to

open any of

tration against his parents.

\

incenl blurted out his feelings to the ÂŤ idon

real that it is

it

fled

home

to her parents.

is

to take

Amsterdam and, when he wrote

his letters. Vincent then turned his frus-

"As you know," he wrote Theo, "Father

and Mother on one side and

must be done or not done

fled to

and

Kee

back that feeling as

to take

ice,

I

on the other do not agree about what

in regard to a certain 'no, never,

never/

Well, after hearing the rather strong expressions 'indelicate' and 'untimely' for called

some time

(just

imagine that you were

in love

and they

your love indelicate, would you not have proudly resented

said, Stop!),

I

used any more.

Theo

it

and

emphatically requested that these expressions not be .

.

.

Now

they say

I

am

"breaking family

tried to discourage Vincent, without success.

love, Vincent solicited the help of his

ties."

Bursting with

covey of aunts and uncles, but suc-

31


ceeded only

in

alarming them. At length Theo sent him the money for

Amsterdam and Vincent journeyed there to confront the frightened young widow. Her parents do not seem to have been equipped to cope with the visitation, and Kee was even less so. Hearing or glimpsa ticket to

ing \ incent as he appeared at the front door, she dashed out the back

one.

\^

hat followed

the subject do not

is

not wholly clear: Vincent's existing letters on the whole story. Apparently he insisted on see-

tell

when he was told that this was impossible, thrust his hand demanding to speak to her for only so long as

ing Kee, and

into the flame of a lamp,

he could endure the pain. Horrified, the Strickers blew out the lamp,

and Vincent may have fainted erything became a blank."

\S

most

that rings so true to life that

cent in charge.

^

ith

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

at all

events, he later told Theo. "ev-

hen he came

Kee's parents,

to,

fiction writers

would

reject

in a gesture it.

took V

in-

every reason to fear and dislike him. they insisted

on finding him good lodgings. "And. dear me. those two old people went with me through the cold, foggy, muddv streets and they did

me

deed show

R

.ee's rejection of

him only increased

warmth and companionship. to the

depths of

my

"I

.

.

.

felt

V

soul," he wrote Theo.

through and through,

"And

I

did not want to be

was

illogical,

Kee and no

in

other, but

view of his vehement insistence

"W

He admitted

ho

will

not live without love.

go to a woman, otherwise

I

I

upon having

the master, the logic or I?" In any

is

do otherwise. "I need a woman.

case, he said, he could not

am

he de-

to Etten.

toured briefly to The Hague and found himself a prostitute. it

human

incents desire for

chilled

stunned by that feeling." Instead of returning directly

that

in-

a very good, cheap inn."

man and

a

man

a

I

cannot.

with passions.

shall freeze or turn to stone."

W

I

must

I

hen he got

back to Etten he remained for only a short time. The misunderstandings

and quarrels with

his father

break off relations and

to

became more frequent. Soon he resolved

move

to

The Hague, where he might stud) who had marMauve to guide him he could learn

with Anton Mauve, a prominent Dutch painter of the dav

one of

ried

incents cousins.

\

more about

arl

in

a

country parsonage. His de-

he chose Christmas Dav to denounce the organized

parture was bitter

Church

V^ ith

than he ever could

to his father, saving "straight out that

I

considered the whole

system abominable."

Theo was shocked. He thought Vincent's decision to settle in The bul could not approve the manner of his going.

Hague sensible enough, He wrote

\

incent a blistering letter: "That you could not bear

any longer

is

have lived

all

modern

with

possible,

and

thai

you

differ in

not unnatural: but.

life is

opinion with people

and have not come

their lives in the country

confound

it.

in

in that

wax?"

\

who

contacl

what made \ou so

childish and impudenl as to embitter and -pod Father's and life

there

it

incent replied in a long, defensive essaj

he admitted thai Ins "diplomacy" had been swepl awa\

in

Mothers in

which

the heal

ol

moment. \s to a reconciliation with his lather, he merel) sent the old man a \ew Year's greeting in which In- said thai lie hoped the) would have no more trouble in the next months. i

In

'2

I

\t

32

lust

Mauve was sympathetic

to \ incent.

He gave him some

paints


and brushes, helped him

up

to set

introduced him into an

a studio,

art-

association where he could draw from models, and was generous

ists'

with technical advice. But Mauve, although he was a skilled and sen-

whose work was distinguished

sitive painter

for its delicate color, could

not long abide so unorthodox a pupil as Vincent.

and advised him

cent's drawings

to practice

Vincent responded by smashing the casts

casts.

claiming that

was

it

life

him

to see

for

in a

coalbox and pro-

Mauve

he would be too busy

\ incent

two months.

of his art-dealing uncles, Cornelius van Gogh, visited him and

bought a few of

his

He promised

to

buy more

able subjects

same

offer.

drawings for the equivalent of one dollar apiece. if

\

incent would only concentrate on sal-

branch of Goupil's came to him with much the

local

Vincent

work did not

tried, but the

him

interest

in

the

and he was very soon attacking these men as unfeeling creatures

least

with no conception of true

He was

art.

right, but his inflexible prin-

brought him only posthumous benefits and paid no rent and

ciples

purchased no bread or coffee

modern

saint,

mind

in this world.

and the idea may not be too

Vincent has been called a far off the

mark

men who

own martyrdom.

an Gogh's view of his profession, which he formulated in fact a saintly one. "I

want you

ception of art.*" he wrote Theo. "\X hat difficult,

— bearing

that saints are frequently unbending, infuriating

invite their

was

The

pretty views of tourist attractions, for instance.

manager of the

V

m-

\

incents experience with other would-be benefactors was similar.

One

in

he criticized

he wanted to draw, not cold plaster. To

such behavior was unacceptable; he told

\

When

by sketching from plaster

and yet

I

do not think

I

want and aim

aim too high.

I

which touch some people. ... In either

in

The Hague,

mv

understand clearlv

to

at is

want

I

con-

confoundedly

to

do drawings

figure or landscape

I

should

wish to express, not sentimental melancholy, but serious sorrow. ...

want

to progress so far that people will say of

he feels tenderly

even because of

— notwithstanding

it.

.

.

.

What am

or an eccentric and disagreeable in society

well

.

.

.

and never

then

I

I

in

my

work, he feels deeply,

so-called roughness, perhaps

most people's eyes? A nonentity,

man — somebodv who

my work

to

show what

such an eccentric, of such a nobody. This

founded

less

is

my

on anger than on

has no position

Mauve and Uncle Cornelius and

is

in

the heart of

ambition, which

is.

in

made

this charcoal

rejected him.

ith

preachments of

years. cigars,

lo\ e.

Her name was Christien

goaded

\

incent to Haunt his contempt for

and outward form." But alter a \ear and

it.

for a mother.

in coarse,

the countryside: -he returned to a brothel.

Unfor-

The Hague.

her profession for about 15

raucous accents and had

She had already borne one

a

to alcohol,

smoked

scheming procuress

illegitimate child,

a hall.

an Gogh and Sien parted: he went to paint

— nicknamed Sien

Smallpox had pitted her face; she was addicted spoke

("Bad connections

often arise from a feeling of loneliness") onl\

accounts she would have struck fear into the heart of a drunkin

nj;

gonorrhea. \nd the

his father

the branch manager of Goupil's

en stevedore. She was 30, and had been

1

an Gogh rhapsodized Sien to hi- brother,

\

Vincent had resumed his contact with the prostitute he had sought out

all

draw

people "w ho attach importance to refinement

had seen this side of Vincent they might have understood

when Kee had

an Gosh found

mistress and her 11 -year-old daughter.

pregnant, he w

tunately they saw something else. Soon after his arrival in

and by

\

even when hoth were hospitalized, -he

in

f

him.

\ os rejected

sprins of 1883 he ot In-

\

I

Kee

solace with a streetwalker called Sien. In the

will have, in short, the lowest of the low. \ erv

should want

spite of everything,

my

After I

was preg-

nant with another, and appears to have had gonorrhea into the bargain.

33


Vincent made several studies of her with the

— the most arresting

a lithograph

is

written boldly on the page.

title Sorroic

Although he informed Theo that he had found some inexpensive models

— the prostitute, her mother and her daughter, aged about 11 — Vin-

cent did not at

reveal the nature of his relationship with them.

first

may have

This lack of candor, exceedingly rare in his

letters,

from Vincent's anxiety not to lose his only

life line

(about $20) a

month

Theo

that

sent

him from

derestimated Theo. At length, however,

— the

100 francs

Paris. If so, Vincent un-

became necessarv

it

arisen

to bring

the affair to light. Vlauve, Uncle Cornelius and others

knew about

and were accusing Vincent of "betraying"'

and

"You have

class:

Aware

his family

Mauve.

a vicious character," said

word would soon reach Theo, Vincent

that

it,

his social

seized the ini-

"Which is more delicate, refined, manly," he wrote his brother, "to desert a woman or to stand by a forsaken woman? Last winter I met a pregnant woman, deserted by the man whose child she carried. A pregnant woman who had to walk the streets in winter, had to earn her tiative.

bread, you understand how. ...

model, but that did not prevent far

I

have been able

my own

by sharing

could not pay her the

I

my

paying her rent, and thank God, so

and her child from hunger and cold

to protect her

bread with her. ...

seems

It

worth a straw would have done the same

woman

now attached to me marrv once, and how can do is

I

to help her; otherwise

which end

wages of a

full

like a

in

me

to

my

tame dove. For

better than

that every

such a case.

marry her?

part,

It is

.

.

.

man The

can only

I

the only

way

misery would force her back into her old ways,

in a precipice."

Theo argued strongly against the marriage, but Vincent insisted on it to wed Sien as soon as her baby was born. However, sev-

and planned eral

weeks before the child arrived,

to be treated for

again,

and although

in a sparsely

his

her.

gonorrhea. in

It

himself entered the hospital

\ incent

was months before he was wholly well

time he did

install

Sien and her child

— a boy

furnished apartment, and wrote rapturously to Theo of

"house" and

his "family." he

never took the

final step

Perhaps Theo's arguments had begun to take

of marrying

perhaps

effect:

cent himself had begun to see the difficulties of marriage with a

whose conversation

did not extend

though he continued peared

M to

much beyond oaths. In any case, almany months, her name ap-

to live with Sien for

in his letters less

and

less

.eanwhile he continued

to

frequcnth

.

make progress with

izontal,

one

a

vertical

ening

to

render spatial effects

more convincingly. "The

lines ol

.)

to

pa)

Placing

made

one hor-

ii

Ubrecht t

he frame

easier tor

"'like

and gutters now come

arrows from

serious heed to experiments

spoke of these more eloquently than artists ordinarily do.

34

it.

perspective and foreshort-

lines ol roofs

shooting forth powerfully," he wrote,

was also beginning

help him mas-

and two diagonal. (The idea was not new

before Ins subject and sighting through the threadincent

to

frame with four threads stretched across

Diirer had used a similar frame in the loth Centur)

\

his art. In a letter

Theo he described an ingenious device he was using

ter perspective

\ in-

woman

a

how.

in oil,

He

and he


"In the woods, yesterday toward evening," he wrote Theo. "I was

busy painting

a rather sloping

ground was

leaves. This

ground covered with dry. moldered beech

light

and dark reddish-brown, made more so

by the shadows of trees casting more or

less

dark streaks over

it,

some-

The problem was and I found it very difficult to get the depth of color, the enormous force and solidity of that ground and while painting it I perceived for the very first time how much times half blotted out.

light there still

brownish-red

was

soil,

in that dusk. is

.

.

.

Behind those saplings, behind that

a sky very delicate, bluish-gray,

... A few

warm, hardlv

wood gatherers are wandering around like dark masses of mysterious shadows. The white cap of a woman bending to reach a dry branch stands out suddenly. ... A skirt catches the light. ... A white bonnet, a cap, a shoulder, the bust of a blue,

aglow.

all

woman molds poetry.

.

.

itself against

the sky. Those figures are large and

it

I

said to myself,

something of an autumn evening

in

I

must not go away before there

it,

thing serious. But as this effect does not

The

figures

brush.

It

of

full

.

"\& hile painting is

figures of

were put

struck

in at

me how

ed in the ground.

something mysterious, somelast,

I

had to paint quickly.

once with a few strong strokes of a firm

sturdily those

little

[sapling]

stems were root-

began painting them with a brush, but because the

I

surface was already so heavily covered, a brush stroke was lost in

it

squeezed the roots and trunks in from the tube, and modeled

then

I

little

with the brush. Yes

strongly rooted in

it.

... In

a certain I

way

I

am

glad that

I

it

a

have not ef-

as

an aid to composition (belou

meadows one can look through

was Vincent's

it

he drew

letter,

his

(below, right).

a

like a

diagram of the waj

"You

will

understand that

limited mvself to the simple color-,

instinct, in his haste to get great quantities of paint

I

he

Prussian blue. Naples yellow, -ienna. black I

refrained from cho

'nice' colors. ...

work

palette with healthy colors."

is

often so thick that the paintings, in profile, seem

1

believe thi-

is

a practical

)

Tv*4>-*-A

I

used

"In the

pigments on the palette

onto the canvas, to squeeze colors directly from the tube. In his later impasto

it

).

enables one to draw quick as lightning." In

another

and white. ...

his

left

.

frarii'-.

lie

wrote, "ocher (red-yellow-brown), cobalt and

fects as this." It

an Coati described

rigged with four taut string.-, which

he arranged

might have learned to pass by such

\

wooden "perspective

window. Long and continuous practice with

— now they stand there rising from the ground,

learned painting, because then

In a letter to In- brother, his design for a

JUJ.. «-« v^-J

... ^i-A^v-j,j tA,

p»,

'


\

an Gogh drew this view of his family's home

in

Nuenen

after he returned to live w ith his

The laundry room he was

parents in 1883.

using as a -tudio

had put a stove

is

in

at

it

the right. His parents

and had covered the stone

floor with planks to protect

him from the

winter damp. They even talked of cutting a large

window

lighter this

and

in

one wall

airier.

done and

a studio of his

it

But

to

make the room

\ incent did not

want

was not long before he found

own elsewhere

in

Nuenen.

like

topographical studies, the ridges of pigment rising almost half an

inch above the surface. vases in prodigious

these

little

And

when he produced

in his last years,

numbers and thev were stacked together

can-

for storage,

mountaintops of paint were sometimes accidentally flattened

where parts of one painting had pressed down on the face of the one below.

Although to

\

incents description of the evening scene shows his

cope with color

the fact

is

effort

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the dusk, the brownish-red earth, bluish-grav sk)

that his earlv color

harmonics were

all

subdued,

the man-

in

ner of the standard dark Dutch palette of his time. There was nothing in

Holland to compare with the

colorism ot the French Im-

brilliant

pressionists. Vincent, thinking himself daring, spoke of being unafraid

"of a bright green or a soft blue." but then denied this boldness by

marking that "there

is

scarcely any color that

low-gray, green-grav. bluc-grav. This

is

not grav: red-grav.

re\

el-

the substance of the whole color

is

scheme.'" In a short time he would think otherwise.

Despite the strides he made in his

relationship with Sien.

in his

work.

He would

not

\

incent remained trapped

abandon her

she and her

children were indeed his family, and beyond that were the symbols poor, helpless

human it)

on

whom

saints have their difficult side, \

to 150 francs,

tervals in the

and had begun

hope

that

good stead) job

in a

to

send

it

in

installments

Vincent might manage

enough. Sien's mother began

if

so do the poor. Sien wanted more than

\lthough Theo had increased his monthl)

incent could provide,

pend

ot

he could not turn his hack. Hut

to

it

better,

pressure her to leave

bordello.

There was

when

-lie

it

lie

ha- never

asked, lb- blamed himself lor tailing to uplift her

was not

incent and gel a

a briel tug-of-war

Sien's mother and \ incent: he lost. Nevertheless,

fend Sien. '"How can she he good

\

sti-

10-da) in-

at

between

continued

to i\c-

known good? he he had somehow

been inadequate. Iii

the up- Ik it he decided to leave

The Hague and go to Drenthe, a prov-

ince in the peat-bog region of northern Holland

;,,

where he

felt

he might


"This garden

sets

me dreaming,

incenl

\

wrote from the Nuenen parsonage 188

ami

1.

shows

m

In- feeling for the family

this

most

in

ol his

March

home

drawing oi the "round-,

background -land? Nuenen landmark

in

the

-

in the

old tower, a

little village. \

incent -pent

da\- making such sketches

surroundings and the village

folk.

ol his

He dined

with his family, but during meals he would often crouch in a corner w

ith his plate

balanced on hi> knee-, -taring silent!)

draw ing he had propped on

deepen his

art

bv drawing closer to the peasants and the earth. Before

his departure he gave Sien the only gift he could

— a piece of painter's

canvas from which to make clothing for her children. He also wrote

Theo.

in a matter-of-fact

of survival and thought that he might years, he estimated the

curate.

He had

.

.

number "between

I

debtedness and duty toward

it

because

ty years, and. out of gratitude,

shape of drawings or pictures

want

— not

human

but to express a sincere

art.

six

and

much whether

don't care

The world concerns me onlv

.

own chances

little

while. As to

and he was

ten,*'

ac-

seven. "I do not intend to spare mvself. nor to avoid emo-

tions or difficulties time.

count on a

still

to

his

manner, that he had estimated

He was

live a I

longer or shorter feel a certain in-

have walked this earth for to leave

made

some souvenir

thir-

in the

to please a certain taste in

feeling."

His sojourn in Drenthe was brief tably productive.

I

I

insofar as

— only

two months

— and

not no-

tortured by guilt for having ""abandoned"

Sien, he lacked painting materials, and he found the peasants unwilling to

pose for him. Late in 1883 he decided to make one more attempt to with his parents. His father

live

despite

all

past quarrels,

spent his limited funds to

at

the time was serving

in

Nuenen, and

was more than willing to take him

make

a small studio for \ incent in an

in

— he

unused

laundry room. The quarrels of course resumed, but a kind of armed truce was established, and \ incent worked furiously on landscapes, still lifes

cal

and pictures of the Nuenen peasants

weavers

their

in their cottages,

who seemed

heavy looms, but victims caught

in

to

to "soft [green] soap

still

and the brass color of

dark a

of the lo-

to be in control of

spiderwebs or

quisitional devices of torture. His colors were

them

— particularly

him not

in bizarre, In-

— he compared

worn-out 10-cen-

time piece." In

March 1885,

in a letter to

Theo. Pastor van Gogh spoke of an-

other of his failed attempts to establish communication with

and added philosophically. "May he meet with success no matter what."

Two

davs

later,

in

\

incent.

something,

returning from a long walk, the pas-

37

a chair.

at a


tor collapsed at his front door and died.

not pretend what he did not

and went on

briefest of terms,

He was

63. Vincent,

who could

referred to his father's death in the

feel,

to tell

Theo

of his plans to start a com-

position of "those peasants around a dish of potatoes in the evening."

"Those peasants" was a subject

that stirred Vincent deeply; a worn-

out, conservative preacher, fallen dead

only the pathetic, not the tragic

on

his doorstep, represented

— what Vincent had earlier called "sen-

timental melancholy" as opposed to "serious sorrow."

The Potato Eaters (pages 25-27) "masterpiece"

— whatever

is

ordinarily called \ an Gogh's

word may now mean.

that threadbare

first

It

the statement and the indictment toward which he had been tending his life, to

and

his

own comments

is

all

best describe his intent: "I have tried

emphasize that these people, eating their potatoes

have dug the earth with those very hands they put

in the lamplight,

in the dish,

and so

it

how thev have honestly earned their food. the impression of a way of life quite different

speaks of manual labor, and "I have

wanted

from that of us eryone to

like

to give

civilized people.

or admire

it

a conventional

is

con, smoke, potato steam

all right,

There are no references

at

it

is

once a vision of

and an accusation; ilized

people"

who

anxious for ev-

am convinced

I

roughness than by giving

all

.

.

.

If a

a ladv, in her dustv.

peasant picture smells of ba-

right, that's not

unhealthy;

that belongs to a stable;

odor of ripe corn or potatoes or of guano or manure

tato Eaters, yet

at all

personally

more beautiful than

patched blue skirt and bodice.

dung

I

in their

not

charm.

"I think a peasant girl

smells of

am

I

once. ...

at

by painting them

get better results

them

it

Therefore

to religion in Vincent's

a religious painting of the a

sacrament

it is

if

the

if

a stable

field

has an

— that's healthv.'"

remarks about The Po-

most powerful

sort. It

— the communion of those who

is

toil

among "us civhuman degradation. Although

intended to arouse guilt and wrath

tolerate, or profit from,

he never put his political views into a formal statement. \ incent was a

man

In the tir^t

seven months of 18H1.

did 10 paintings

watercolors

seemed

|>ii

loom

enmeshed their

m\ stud) next

i

b) a

man who

draftsm inship,

would

men who

weavers

worked inside

the)

you

ol

literally

\

an

Gogh

and 17 drawings and

to

in their

him

to

looms as

gloom) cottages. t

"II

he draw ing of a

specializes in

Van Gogh wrote, "m\ work

shorn thai the oak ol the

loom

hail

become ding} and aged-looking from sweat) hands.

mine

.

Compare

.

weavers

-till

w iih a real loom and

it

creak more!

will

The miners and

other laborers and artisans, and ^\

mpath)

almost

a

the

constitute a ran' apart from

for

I

feel a great

them. With his dream)

sleepwalker

:w

that

is

air

.

.

the weaver."

of the

left,

deeply

moved by

the novels of Emile Zola and \ ictor


a

Hugo and by his own observations in the slums, the coal mines and peasOne of his lifelong dreams was to establish a commune of art-

ant hovels.

where painters could share their

ists

commune

He

theory.

homes print

having more

and their fortunes

lives

to

also proposed a plan for bringing fine

works of

more than

of the poor, through lithographs, at no

— and

do with early Christianity than with Marxist art into the

a few cents a

he saw this not as a commercial enterprise, but as a duty.

Art for him had primarily a social function, although to be sure

it

was

which he could plead for the love that was oth-

also the only language in

erwise denied him.

E,

months

light

He went

return.

Holland, never to

remembered him

as a

in

formal art

country clod who dressed

rough peasant clothes and used a board from a packing crate for a

When

ette. I

left

Antwerp, where he again enrolled

to

classes. His fellow pupils in

Vincent

after his father's death first

am

him

his instructors asked

He

Vincent, a Dutchman."

yond the reinforcement of

name, he replied simply "Well,

his

derived very

little

conviction

that

his

pal-

from

his classes be-

academies are an

abomination. The principal benefit of his three-month sojourn in Ant-

werp was an increased exposure thought about

Van Gogh, who was soon was by no means oblivious period.

He was

er Delacroix

more accurately, increased

to color, or,

it.

to be the

most intense colorist of

his time,

to the possibilities of color during his

Dutch

familiar with the color theories of the great French paint-

and seems even by

this period to

have begun

to

develop

the almost mystical ideas about color that are reflected in his late

He

art.

sensed that color has meaning that transcends mere visual impres-

— indeed

sions. Yellow, red, blue

that lies

may be

beyond the reach of is

complex matter

a

not yet penetrated, but

it

any color

— can

rationality. Precisely

that scientists

is

a

it,

what the connotation

and cultural historians have

commonplace

are interrelated; without thinking of

connote something

that colors

and emotions

one speaks of a red

rage, a blue

mood, or being green with envy. Vincent himself, before he land,

went so

far as to relate colors

piano lessons. "Prussian blue!" or

and music

left

Hol-

— and even took a few

"Chrome yellow!" he would

cry as

he struck a chord, no doubt alarming the piano teacher, although he

was merely experimenting with

a

phenomenon

that artists

and musicians

have always known about. In Antwerp Vincent studied the bright colors of Rubens in the mu-

seums and

in the city's

and emerald green

own paintings cadmium vellow

churches, and was impressed. His

began to take on lighter tones, and he added to his palette. After a

scarlet,

few months he seems to have

sensed that his art was about to undergo a great change, and that he

was

at last

ready to go to Paris.

He

suggested the idea to Theo.

apprehensive and tried to discourage him.

February 1886 Theo was handed cent was waiting for

him

who was

was no use. One dav

scrawled

in the magnificent

in

in

black chalk; Vin-

Salon Carre of the Louvre,

— Leonardos, Rembrandts and that best in the realm of painting — confronted one another. Would Theo

where the wonders of the world is

a note

It

please meet

all

him there?

39


Wh.hen morning

\

an Gogh arrived

in 1886.

on a brisk February

in Paris,

The Impact

he was eager to learn and ready to be

stimulated by new experiences. Paris in that year was the place to be. literature,

the

first

The

citv

bubbled with innovations

in science,

music and. most excitingly perhaps,

time. \ an

Gogh was exposed

to the

in art.

of Paris

For

world of

Manet. Degas. Cezanne, the Impressionists, the Pointillists. the Symbolists.

else of interest

Japanese

around town that

incent nevertheless

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;and everything

his brother

vounsart leaders could show him. \

art

Still

Theo and the

shy and reclusive.

became friendly with

Pissarro.

Ioulouse-Lautrec. Signac. Gauguin and other avant-garde painter>.

examining their work and their ideas intently. In \ incent's portrait, the art

\t

his easel, he filtered all his sensations

through

his

supply dealer Pere Tanguy, painted in deep blues and brow n?.

vibrant brush. In two vears he went through a complete

metamorphosi> as a painter. He had described himself as

a

sits

asainst a bold background

composed mostl)

"shagg) don" when he was

in

Holland doing the somber

Potato Eaters; in Paris he turned into what one critic has called a "singing bird." Brightness

and lightness flooded

ol \

an Gogh

s

copies of Japanese \%nrk-. \ an

Gogh's affectionate portrayal also include- a touch ol whimsy.

Although the kind Tangu) his

work. He painted serene cafe interiors and breeze-

swepl landscapes.

were replaced himself at

b)

rest.

he dark figures

I

\ i\

The

world did nut alter

\

id

"I

Pan-

10

trait-,

work

at

close-ups of friend- (right

t

and of

ol

unrecognized

and stimulation of Pan-'

an Gogh's basic personalit)

and he kept them

:

art

he had

and disturbing

all

through

liberated In- massive creative power.

In- life. Hut

arti-ts.

apparent!} his wife did not appreciate the fact that most ol

them owed him mone) gaiet)

arrived from Holland with eccentric

character

laborers

champion

erupting volcano

above

direct!)

be \

ai

In-

.

The

the painting

head

is

-an! to

rnmenl on

'

Tanguy's married

IfCUV.

in

1887

life.


41


V_^oming from Holland, where less to traditional

looking

techniques,

at pictures like these.

painters

Van Gogh

New

still

confined themselves more or

in Paris

suddenly found himself

through Theo's descriptions now became excitingly quite familiar with most of the paintings art dealer,

known only He probably became

painting styles that he had

shown

real.

here. Theo, a forward-looking

had already begun collecting "modern" works. At one time he

owned many

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; those by Manet, Seurat, Gauguin, â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and Vincent lived surrounded by

of the pictures in this group

Toulouse-Lautrec and Emile Bernard

them when he shared Theo's apartment. Also

close at

hand were the

galleries

where the Impressionists held their exhibitions; equally accessible was Pere Tanguy's shop, where many pictures, including the Cezanne shown here,

were for artists,

sale.

As he became a member of the group of progressive young

Vincent not only observed

sometimes joined them

many

of

them

at

work

in their studios but

in painting expeditions out of doors.

Edouard Manet

Paul Cezanne: Mill on the Couleure near Ponloise.c. 1881

Georges Seurat:

12

I

Cafi-Concert, 1887

:

Portrait, c.

Edgar Degas: After the Bath.

Claude Monet:

I

c.

1880

1885

Field of Poppies, 1873


Camille Pissarro: Landscape at the Chaponval, 1880

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:

Woman at a

Table, 1889

Paul Signac: The Dining

Emile Bernard: Portrait

of the

Irtist's

Room

(Breakfast). 1886-1887

Grandmother. 1887

13


/

II

II

oman

in \ht

Cafi

/.<â&#x20AC;˘

Tambourin, 1887


V-an Gogh absorbed many he was exposed

in Paris

own work. Below

is

of the

new techniques

to

which

by deliberately imitating them

one of

in his

his exercises in Pointillism: for the

cafe interior he painted the walls and, to a lesser extent, the floor in distinct dots of

pure color. In his copy of a Japanese

wood-block print

he practiced painting with solid areas

(left),

of color, hard outlines and flattened perspective. At the far is

a

left

his version of one of the traditional Impressionist subjects,

woman

alone in a cafe. His model

the Italian

technique

who owned is

may have been La

Segatori,

the cafe Le Tambourin; his borrowed

revealed in the short, slashing brush strokes of

pure color that make the table, the chairs and the model's hat especially vivid.

painted

some of

It

was to decorate

this cafe that

his Japanese pictures,

and

it

Van Gogh

was here that he

exhibited a collection of Japanese prints.

Japonaiserie: Trees in Bloom. 1887

Interior

old Restaurant. 1887

45


*****

'y/iKMJfij II

I

n Paris.

Van Gogh freed

his palette of the dark, earth

tones he had used in most of his early work in Holland. refined his technique of

modeling forms

in light

and

earlier work.

The

painting above, for example, owes

colors to Impressionism. let

heal Field with a Lark, June-Julv 188'

It is

an Impressionist de\

the brush stroke itself plav a part in the object the

Van Gogh does with the

shadow, and painted portraits. Bower studies and

stroke represents, as

landscapes instead of depressed peasants. These were

wheat and the red

revolutionary changes for him and he worked vigorously

the main elements of the picture

to

lifes

and

hall a

hundred landscapes.

these new methods,

\s

some of the earth)

Dutch peasant paintings began

si ill

he progressed

in

reality of his

to reassert itself.

The two

landscapes show n here demonstrate his absorption 3sionism but the) also earn overtones "I thai

flecks of the flowers.

shafts of

But by placing

grass, ÂŤ heal

and skv

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in strong horizontal bands, he seems to plant the

master them: 9ome 200 paintings Bowed from his

brush inside two years, about 50 of flowers, some 35

its

ice to

in

delicate scene as solidl) in the earth as the thick trees he painted

|>n-\ iousl)

right, the figure with the

.

is

in

the

Dutch

in the picture at the

spade echoes the Dutch

peasants of his earlier work,

windmill he found

And

just as

the subject

Montmartre section

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

ol Paris

a reminder of the w indmills of his native laud.


II

indniill

on Moiilniurlrc. 1887


48


Ill Pilgrimage to Paris

Although Vincent was 32 when he came

to Paris in 1886,

and Theo

only 28, the roles of the two brothers had long since been reversed.

Theo was the senior

in all

but years. In appearance he

much resembled

manner he was quite the opposite: a gentle and selfman who moved softlv in the world of Parisian art. Even those

Vincent, but in effacing

with good cause to

remember him

Paul Gauguin, for

whom Theo

to master the spelling of his

failed to

develop a sharp impression.

did substantial favors, never bothered

name, writing of him as "van Gog." The

French poet Gustave Kahn saw him as "pale, blond and so melancholy

seemed

that he

to hold canvases the

way beggars hold new

bowls. His profound conviction of the value of the

without vigor, and thus without great success.

But this salesman was an excellent

er's gift.

He

critic

their art

wooden

was stated

did not have a bark-

and engaged

in dis-

cussions with painters and writers as the discriminating art lover he

was." Neither

Kahn nor Gauguin made note

of Theo's unspectacular

courage. In his 13 years with Goupil

&

Theo had

Cie.

risen to the

of one of the two galleries the firm maintained in Paris. er gallery, but

cretion. For

Theo was authorized

to

buv and

sell

It

managership

was the small-

paintings at his dis-

sound business reasons the pictures he put on prominent

display were recognized masters, such as Corot. But upstairs and in his \

an Gogh,

sitting at a cafe table,

was portrayed

in pastel

bv Henri

de Toulouse-Lautrec the year after

Dutchman

he met the

in Paris.

Although the younger Lautrec was already an accomplished artist on his

own. he seems

to

ha\e been

influenced by \ an Gogh's power

and intensity, the

effect of

ists

number

whose work he admired.

breakdown

W

after Vincent's suicide

to replace him, they

of paintings by less well-known art-

hen he collapsed with and

were outraged

his conservative

a

nervous

employers had

to discover the extent of his ex-

traordinary purchases. "Theo van Gogh."" one of them told Theo's suc-

modern

paint-

them and don't bother

us. or

cessor, "has accumulated the most appalling stuff bv ers.

.

.

.

Just do the best vou can with

which

can be seen here

in

and closely

hatched strokes.

knit,

storage racks he kept a large

the bold colors

we'll be obliged to close the place down.""

The successors inventory

dis-

closed what would today be regarded as a priceless art collection

works by Gauguin, Degas, Pissarro. Daumier. Redon and ToulouseHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Portrait

<>/

1

Pan<. 1887

incent van

Gogh,

Theo also bought canvases from Monet. Renoir who have since been installed in the pantheon ot

Lautrec. At various times

and

Sislev. painters

19


P

modern

Few

art.

who could

Vincent,

made room

create squalor with a

Theo paid

collapse.

begun

rented a larger apartment on the

and

As soon

Rue Lepic

a dentist,

and did

he was able, he

as

Montmartre, with an

in

that could serve Vincent as a studio. Thereafter he wrote op-

timistically to their

new

to repair \ in-

all

to drink heavily, years of

for the services of a doctor

his best to point out the advantages of food.

room

of

first

had brought Vincent to the brink of physical and nervous

self-neglect

the

eye.

wave of the hand. But he

for his brother, and undertook

cent's health. Although he had not yet

extra

more discerning

dealers in history have had a

did not relish the prospect of sharing his small apartment with

Theo

flat;

and other people says that he

mother

"We

Holland:

in

are getting along well in

you would not recognize Vincent, he has changed so much,

is

find

now

it

even more striking than

hale and hearty again.

progress in his work and

He

I

is

do.

.

.

.

The doctor

making tremendous

is

beginning to succeed. He

is

very well liked. For example, he has some

cheerful than before, and

also far

is

more

who each week send him a nice consignment of flowers for him to paint. He paints mainly flowers, above all in order to freshen up his colors for future paintings. If we can keep it up, then I think he has the worst behind him; and he is going to come out on top."' friends

Although Vincent's temperament prevented him from being "well liked" for very long ion

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

is

it

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he had a calamitous habit of shouting out his opin-

true that in Paris, for the

did associate with a

them he met

of

number

in art class

first

and only time

His teacher was Fernand Cormon. an

academic painter of minor talent who had

built a reputation

tures of prehistoric lake dwellers and cavemen. Thin

Theo van Goph. four vears

\

incent's junior,

looked more the artiM than his brother.

"He

much

Many

where, surprisingly, he enrolled almost im-

mediately after his arrival.

a sparrow's face,

he

in his life,

of other artists on a friendly basis.

Cormon was

on

large pic-

as a sparrow, with

held in awe by his pupils, perhaps not so

for his paintings as for the fact that he kept three mistresses at

one time.

Was more dclicatelv limit." Theo's wife recalled, bill

"and

his features

were more

he had the same reddish

and the same darkened

Theo.

light

fair

refined,

complexion

blue eves which sometimes

to a greenish blue." In a letter to

\ incent

once asserted

reddish-haired people ÂŤ

ith

that "certain

square foreheads

are neither only thinkers nor only

action, but usually

.

.

.

men

of

both." Vincent's

conclusion was that Theo should renounce his business and become

a

A

Cormon's, Vincent worked hard

t

to perfect his technical skill. Al-

though he had previously expressed his contempt for making studies

from plaster

he now proceeded

casts,

drawing and erasing with such

He was

do precisely that, drawing,

to

zeal that

he rubbed holes

re-

in the paper.

considerably older than the other pupils and his perception was

unlike theirs

in his

new-found fascination with color he saw an

or-

painter like him.

dinary nude against a dull background

No one was

blue.

inclined to ridicule him. however, possibly because

of his touching earnestness but

ening.

more

likelv

Archibald Hartrick, a British painter

recalled thai

he got

as golden-yellow against bright

because he seemed

who knew him

-ketch

fright-

the time,

"he had an extraordinary wa) of pouring out sentences,

started, in

Dutch. English and French, then glancing hark

von over his shoulder, and hissing through hi> a

at

teeth."" (Hartrick

il

at

made

ol \ incent in this attitude.)

Like main of Vincent's enthusiasms, his desire to stud) with Cor-

mon

quickly burned out.

intended efil

50

to staj for

He entered

three years but

left

the class

announcing

alter a few weeks.

The

that

he

chiel ben-

of hi> sessions there' seems to have been lu> introduction to a

num-


ber of young French artists, notably Emile Bernard and Henri de

Toulouse-Lautrec. Both Bernard and Toulouse-Lautrec became friendly with him and continued to admire him for the rest of their lives. Lautrec, indeed,

on hearing another

paintings, challenged the \

man

artist

made the acquaintance

incent also

art-supply shop of a remarkable old grizzled, with a look of traits of

him

speak disparagingly of Vincents

to a duel (fortunately forestalled).

deep kindness

had been exiled and

later

called Pere

in his eyes

— Tanguy

shown on page 41

is

of several other painters in the

man

pardoned for

— one of Vincent's por-

was

a

former soldier who

his part in the Paris

Though he seems

the popular uprising of 1871.

Tanguy. Stubby,

to

ucation, he did have an instinctive appreciation of the in art.

Because then as now

tracted

some formidably

money

lacked

to

buy

men

gifted

little

to his shop.

ed-

new and daring

was a rare commodity, Tanguy

this

his supplies,

Commune,

have had

When

his

at-

customers

he would trade canvas and colors for

finished paintings. In time he accumulated a notable collection of

works

by Pissarro, Gauguin, Seurat, Guillaumin and Signac, to which a number of \ incents paintings were soon added. For a while, Pere Tanguy's

cubbyhole shop was the only place zanne could be seen

— and

in

where paintings by Ce-

Paris

purchased for as

little

as $20.

(Cezanne

apparently once met Van Gogh in Tanguy's shop, but the encounter

was not like a

a

happy one

— Cezanne

madman." There

w.

hen Tanguy's

is

is

reported to have said, "Sir, you paint

no record of Vincents

artists

reply.)

were depressed he soothed them; when

they were hungry he shared his meals with them: his shop was both a

He also tried to sell their paintings, in a low-keved manner reminiscent of Theo's. An American critic wrote that the old man "had a curious way of looking down at his pictures with the fond

Archibald Hartrick. a young British painter,

love of a mother, and then looking up at you over his glasses, as

met most of the promising

club and a gallery.

ging you to admire his beloved children."

When

if

beg-

Pere Tanguy did find

including \ an Gogh, (above).

a buyer, his profit was not large.

example, another cent. said,

When

critic

Some time

after

Van Gogh's

wandered into the shop and saw

a

death, for

still life

bv

V in-

he asked the price, Tanguy consulted an old ledger and

"Forty-two francs." The

critic

bought the painting and inquired,

is it

died.

It

was forty-two francs.

Now

I

have got

it

Although Vincent haunted Tanguy's shop, he made

many

He was more impressed w

his art: he suspected that \

"cracked

"

off opinions.

As

\

me when he

of his most important connections with other artists.

50s, the descendant of Sephardic Jews

Then

who had been driven

Of

in his

out of

Spain by the Inquisition, Pissarro was bald and had a long white beard that gave

him the look of

a patriarch,

which

in fact

he was.

V\ ith

Claude Monet and others, Pissarro had pioneered some 15 years before

new style Impressionism. It was a style about which Vincent knew almost nothing, and Pissarro, the kindest of men, was glad to explain it to him. Soon Vincent began to produce colorful, light-filled canin a

vases that are virtually indistinguishable, at of the Impressionists.

It

first

glance, from the

a bit

an Gogh himself admitted.

was through Theo that

these he was perhaps most impressed by Camille Pissarro.

the

an Gogh was

cannot alw ays keep quiet."

back." it

ith

and found him too quick to spout

exactly forty-two, and not forty or fifty?" "Well," said

Pere Tanguy, "I looked up what poor Van Gogh owed

Pan-,

he sketched

Dutchman's unpredictable behavior than with

""I

"But why

artists in

whom

work

was also Pissarro, perhaps more than anyone

51


I

who saw

\

incents death he

is

save Theo.

in Paris

edy. After

\

incents potential and sensed his

trag-

have remarked that he had been

said to

Gogh "would either go mad or leave all of us far behind. know then that he would do both." Among other painters who thought highlv of \ incent. the most in-

sure that \ an I

didn't

triguing

is

surelv Toulouse-Lautrec

— intriguing

of his rank as an artist, although that his personality

and

his incandescent

very nearly as opposed in manner,

not so

\

life.

mind and

incent and Lautrec were artistic intent as

very perceptive portrait of

\

an Gogh (page 48). and

was fascinated with Lautrec's marvelously precise

Tooulouse-Lautrec — .

louse-Lautrec-Monfa its

pos-

is

it

each recognized the other's qualitv. Lautrec made a

sible to be. yet

could trace

much because

high enough, but because of

is

his full

turn

\ incent in

line.

name was Henri Marie Raymond de Tou-

— sprang from a

vigorous, aristocratic family that

ancestry back in an unbroken line to the davs of Charle-

magne. Counts of Toulouse, viscounts of Lautrec and Monfa. thev had been closelv related

to the

were ferocious fighters

column

sault

that cut

its

expected their

women

way

had been

to

in

of

them

the van of a Crusaders" as-

into Jerusalem in 1099: another, the Mar-

won fame

quis de Lafayette, had

Manv

medieval kings of France.

— one

in

America. Fiercely proud. thev

Count Alphonse de

bear sons, not daughters

Toulouse-Lautrec, the artists father, had once observed, before his son was born: "It

The line,

is

better to be a male toad than a female Christian."

turned out to be a toad, possiblv the ugliest man of his

artist

but this was not apparent in his childhood. As a voung bov he was

ordinary

appearance,

in

if

a trifle frail,

small deficiency. His fontanel his skull

was an unusually long time

as he

is

have only one

in closing.

Not until Lautrec

it

weakness that affected

genital

a polished floor

to

become obvious that he had a tragic ailment. He often called, a dw arf. He seem- instead to have had a con-

reached pubertv did

was not.

and seemed

— the skin-covered aperture in the top of

and

in the

his hones.

W

hen he was 13 he slipped on

"inconsequential tall" broke his

Several months later, while he was ditch and broke his right thigh.

I

li>

still

legs

convalescing, he

never matured

to

thigh.

lelt (ell

into a

normal

lengl h.

At about the time of these disasters his features changed alarmingly his

nose became large and his

lips

gross and purplish. Later, through

the use of dumbbells and a row ing machine, he was able

ann- and

In- torso

one

ot

blacksmith wearing pince-nez" pearance.

He was four

him

his friends described

feet eight

t<>

de\ elop his

a- "a tin)

little

but he could do nothing about hi> ap-

inches

tail

and had onl) one redeeming

physical asset: glowing brown intelligent eyes, into which most people

were reluctant

Had lowed ing,

it

to look.

not been lor his incapacit) l.antree

his father, w

hom

would \er\ likeb have

he great 1) admired, into a

horsemanship and lechery. The elder

\

igorous

l.antree.

life ol

fol-

hunt-

although he was

a

graduate of the French mil i tar) academy, Saint-Cyr, and had served brief!)

in

did not.

the

52

the army, was not constrained to follow an arm) career, and

The

laniijv

income from

had more than ample resources

their estates in a large chest,

stewards deposited

from which each took


whatever he needed. Lautrecs father, an eccentric on the grand spent his

money on hounds, hawks,

scale,

horses, weapons and costumes, lie

often appeared in public wearing a Scot's

a Caucasian helmet or

kilt,

the chain-mail tunic of a Crusader. Frequently he walked abroad with a falcon on his wrist; he gave his birds holy water to drink

as he

lest,

they be deprived of the benefits of religion. In protest against

said,

what he claimed was the inefficiency of Parisian laundresses he once scrubbed his shirts

in the gutter.

When

he went picnicking

in the Bois

de Boulogne, he did not bother to carry his food with him but instead rode a mare that had recently foaled, and milked her.

jumped

On

a bet he

and won. His son was

his horse over a high-roofed cab,

much

hero worship, but Count Alphonse unfortunately did not think of the boy

— he

took

an affront that

as

it

fate

once

lost in

had provided him with

such an heir.

Young Lautrec very

early revealed a keen and irreverent mind. At

seven he was studying Latin and Greek. At 13 he could draw and paint animals, birds

and the human

scape too, but without

figure with considerable skill.

much

success

— his interest, he

He

said,

tried land-

was not

in

nature for "nature has betrayed me." At 17, convinced that his future lay in art,

he enrolled

His father did not

in studio classes in Paris.

together approve of having a painter in the family; he feared

it

al-

might

cause gossip. Accordingly Lautrec signed his early efforts with a pseud-

onym, "Treclau"

— an anagram

of his

name

— or

he did not sign them

at all.

Lautrec was abused or ridiculed by his fellow art students, there

If

no record of

He was

it.

quently forgot his appearance

mind them of

friends, "it required rest

at

times he even found

who

'"To those

it.

and witty a companion that others

so vital

enormous

it

is

fre-

necessary to

re-

loved Lautrec," wrote one of his

effort to see

of the world." The famous night-club

him

as he appeared to the

singer, Yvette Guilbert,

whom

I

oulouse-Lautrec

many

times, once remarked unthinkingly as she glanced

through an album of his drawings, "Really, Henri, you have a genius for distortion." At this he

Such

bitter outbursts,

wheeled on her and cried, "But

however, were

naturallv!""

outrageously eccentric

chain-mail helmet, tunic and dasher and

in a

he sketched

s

Count Alphonse, once draped himself

father,

strutted lor the camera. The for hi> for

ou

con \cn

Count

lived life

amusement and cared not

n i

H

m.

\

few days after his

he deserted his bride

to join

-ume

at all

wedding

old

rare. regimental cronies tor a frolic in Pari-. Later his onl\

excuse «a- that he had completeh

forgotten he « a> on hi- hone) moon.

I

n Paris Lautrec studied successively with two academic painters, Leon

— the

Bonnat and Fernand Cormon

Gogh

also attended.

same Cormon whose

By 1886, when he was

classes

Van

22, Lautrec had absorbed

all

and never again bothered with formal

that they could teach him,

times during their married left

himself

occasionally visited at

him

in

studio

a

there.

in

to

chase some young

m rl

« ho caught his eye.

in-

in the Parisian art world. In addition to

model

(for Renoir,

others) and a

mother

among

(at

rived, carrying a

left

a

young

in

lady well established

being a painter.

\

aladon was

among who later

others), a mistress (for Lautrec.

16 she bore an illegitimate son.

gained fame as a painter himself

Suzanne Valadon

\ incent

Another of the painters who dropped

Lautrecs studio was Suzanne Valadon,

also a

Montmartre, and

— Maurice Ltrillo).

a brief account of \ incent's visits.

heavy canvas which he stood

in a

"He

corner where

it

other

the Countess stranded on rail»a\

be pigeonholed in any school. Soon after Vincent's arrival in Paris Lauestablished

\t

he impulsi\el\

platforms, » ithout a sou in her purse, perhaps

struction. Like Vincent he was largely self-taught, and his art cannot

trec

life

ar-

got

53


a

good

and then waited

light

one bothered. He glances, taking

for

part in the conversation,

little

shown. But no

to be

and

finally

he

left,

wea-

work with him. But the next week he came back

ried, taking his last

and began the same pantomime

all

was ever deliberately rude

trec

some attention

opposite his picture, scrutinizing the others'

sat

Dutchman was simply out

over again."

It is

unlikely that Lau-

The intense, humorless the gay company with which Lau-

to Vincent.

of place in

surrounded himself, and eventually Vincent ceased his hopeful ex-

trec

peditions to the studio.

Lautrec,

years younger than Vincent, discovered alcohol at a

1 1

"Of course one should

earlier age.

not drink

much,"

much

said Lautrec,

"but often," and he would sample anything that gave him the sensation, as he put

it,

of "a peacock's

tail in

the mouth." Lautrec also dis-

covered the world of dance halls and

Boulevard de Clichy and

i'S? NTT

night

Montmartre's

clubs.

Place Pigalle were then great centers of am-

its

ateur and professional sin, affording almost every diversion

man.

If

known

to

there was anything the customer wanted that was not in stock,

the Montmartrois would gladly improvise

The

it.

steep, crooked streets

teemed with cutthroats and pickpockets, pimps, prostitutes, drug ped-

t

dlers

and homosexuals of both persuasions. Most of them had come

there fairly recently. As late as 1860 Montmartre was a quiet country

on the outskirts of

lage

were

trec there

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Chat

among

the steaming cabarets

ruins of a few of Montmartre's celebrated windmills

hall that replaced

them supplied the name

of

the Moulin de

it,

la

for the

famous dance

Galette (Mill of the \^ heatcake).

Vincent's paintings there are some that show Montmartre as

pleasantly rural, and

inner circle of

among

the works of Lautrec

lautrec was at his happiest in

one cabaret

some

that suggest an

hell.

L

Montmartre

to another, gesturing with the

at

was fond In the a

oi practical

centricities

photograph above

Japanese shogun, the

a part) at

al

|irank

posing

in.

I

model

In- is

robed

in silk

costume he adopted

home of a

montage li\

.1

as

for

for a

make an

talking and drinking at least until

studio a* both painter

him

to

and

v\as

double self-portrait.

postpone mosl

in

1

he day.

need

anyone

else's.

whom

As

a

rule

own

ec-

he was

he bullied without

insisted that they stay

up

dawn, sharing another bottle with

Often Lautrec would

aristocratic.

up

in

Other

fat,

Is

to

swathed

hour haul

for

mam

the clientele,

rec

became deeply depressed

to

hours

m

the Moulin Rouge, Study-

which ranged from low -brow

in

no

lo

time Edward, Prince of Wales, would turn

while away an evening, and was treated like

aging bachelor.

ine, thighs nil

sil

From lime

Montmartre

\t thai

ol friends.

ing the dancers and

:>l

of

issue

too preoccupied with their

\o matter how weary they became he

mercy.

hat?"

rich dilettante. In tin'

top Lautrec plays a photographic in In*

to

who were

accompanied by one or more companions,

jukes and dressing up.

W

democracy of deformity, accepted without ques-

lived in a kind of

tion by the Montmartrois, Like his eccentrii father, Toulouse-Lautrec

from

night, waddling

miniature cane he called a

boothook, constantly spluttering, "Eh? What? Fantastic, eh?

He

vil-

days of Vincent and Lau-

in the

gardens and cottages

still

One

also survived.

Among

and even

Noir, the Mirliton, the Divan Japonais and the Cabaret des

The

Assassins.

Paris,

\t

the Moulin

less

than

(>0

Ins hat with a high kick, while the

your mot her buying the drinks?

Rouge

a

am

dancer called La Con-

yards of foaming lace, knocked

manager bawled. "Hullo.

\\ ale-!


Lautrec sketched the dancers and their customers constantly, with pencil, charcoal or

even a burned matchstick, trving

economy

tions and expressions with greatest

a caricaturist and had to struggle against ing one particular feature of his subject

—and One

his finished

.

.

.

Frequentl)

liberately try 'to

Cormon's wrote

that Lautrec

_et Ye,

make something

pretty" of a

"was always

— without ever,

ha\e known him de-

I

model

my

in

even

opinion, being able

Lautrec seldom intended satire. Bitterness and mockery in his pic-

life

as he saw

love or outrage, of

all

of his pictures

Lautrec

is

is

Lautrec, indeed, was so detached that his

no greater or

less

little

that does not

his

most men would prefer not (Sewer Grate), \alentin

the

last

to be sure, but

He

he pro-

provoke thought, often melancholy. As

to see.

membered todav only because It

often-reproduced post-

bowler hat pushed back on his head, he saw what

sat in cabarets, his

lue (The Glutton).

in

as a lighthearted or shallow artist.

was neither. His colors and designs are gay.

he

— lesbians

than Lautrec actually saw.

sometimes regarded, because of

Montmartre entertainers,

duced very

\ f~

to re-

example. But the grossness or weariness or disillusion

in bed. for

ers of

was

without any of the personal involvement, the

it.

Van Gogh.

choice of subjects might ordinarily be found disconcerting

many

t

a portrait

off."

tures are rare, and he never moralized. His intention above port

e w ished.

but in spite of himself he would exaggerate certain typ-

which he was being paid it

began by draw-

lie

or even the general character of the figure, so that he was

ical details,

for

mo-

instinct

— an eve. a mouth, even a nostril

apt to distort without even trving or wanting to.

to bring

He was by

work had more exaggeration than he may ha\

of his fellow students at

sincere in art

it.

to capture their

of line.

le

Among

the dancers

who

are re-

of his art are Jane Avril, Grille d'Egout

Desosse (Valentine the Boneless). La Gou-

may be worthwhile

(page 65) and measure

it

to look at Lautrec's picture of

against what

known about her

is

life

and death. La Goulue was only 16 when Lautrec Alsatian girl

named Louise

Vi

eber.

first

portrayed her. She was an

who seems

to

have been called "The

Glutton" because of her habit of draining the dregs from glasses on the cabaret tables.

A superb dancer, filled with animal pride, she delighted men who competed for her favors. But her beautv at 25 she could no longer find work in Montmartre, and

in humiliating the

faded quickly

began

to tour fairgrounds in outlying cities as a sideshow.

trec to paint a pair of panels as an advertisement, his earlier friendship with her.

about nine

(gratis)

to

two huge canvases

He did not. however, confuse friendship with senHe portrayed La Goulue as almost frighteningly jaded, and

was the cafe singer^ vette Guilbert, for

endow ed w

oil

ith a

-ketch

at

Oscar

robust figure tor a chanteuse,

Mile. Guilbert nevertheless had a sharp, acid

voice that pierced smok) cabarets and earned

her the

title "'-tar ol

the end ol the

W ilde.

Lautrec went to see La Goulue perform in her show, and

over

lifted his cane to her in salute

again. Like a character in

when

it

was

and turned away. He ne\er saw her

some time-condensing morality

plav. La

lue descended from dancer to lady wrestler to lion tamer.

Gou-

\^ ith

whom

the top. Hardlv

her imaginary audience he put a relentless caricature of himself and

a slack-faced likeness of

ol the great

entertainers in Paris, hut perhaps his favorite

he made the

feet square.

timentality. in

produced

She asked Lau-

and Lautrec. loval

Toulouse-Lautrec knew most

a

menagerie of tired animals she toured the provinces, but went bankrupt

55

centun

."


when one

arm

of her beasts tore off a child's

turned to Montmartre

to

Rouen. She

at a fair in

re-

peddle candv and flowers outside the Moulin

Rouge, scene of her youthful triumphs. No doubt she hoped to be recognized by the old customers, but she was scarcely noticed. By 1925

La Souris

she was a grotesquely obese and vein-faced alcoholic, trying to make a

where she

living in small-town carnivals

La Goulue."' Her

"the celebrated

billed herself as

employment was

last

as a servant in a bordello. In

1929. age 59. she sensed the approach of death, called for a priest and

asked him. "Father,

will

God

me?

forgive

I

am

La Goulue."

managed

In the year of La Goulue's passing, the French state

to as-

semble and restore Lautrec's large panels for her show (La Goulue had

who had cut them up into pieces). Luxembourg Museum and were later transferred with reverence to the Louvre. Still later thev were moved to the exquisite little Jeu de Paume. where they now hang close bv the long since sold them to a dealer

Thev were kept

L'Escargot

for a time in the

works of Lautrec's friend

van Gogh.

\ incent

L

lautrec himself had his premonitions of death, but

that thev disturbed him. self a

"moral

He continued

suicide."" but

it

is

doubtful

to drink disastrously, calling

he also worked with

a furv that

was

him-

at least

equally responsible for his early end. Relatively late in his short career

he became fascinated with lithography, and

at

the end of a night in Mont-

martre he would refresh himself with a few

Le

Cochon

workmen's

bar. then go directly to the print

raphy he found an

art

form peculiarly suited

are his posters, of

means were created

of wine in a

work. In lithog-

to

to his talents: few

men

The best known of his works in this which he made about 30. Not all of them by any

have been more successful field

glasses

shop

at

it.

for the proprietors of

dance

halls

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he also filled or-

ders from book publishers and manufacturers, including an enlightened

American

firm,

by the Ault It

& W

which engaged him iborg

was not unusual

Company

at

promote the printing inks made

to

of Cincinnati. Ohio.

the time for a fineartist to take on commercial as-

signments. As early as 1862. Honore Daumier had designed a poster for a coal to In

IH98 Toulouse-Lautrec produi ed 22

lithographs for a Saturelles, a

lÂť><>k

modern

entitled Hisloires

bestiar) written b) ln>

merchant, and

in

1868 Edouard Manet had created a poster

plug a newly published book. By 1890. Jules Cheret, the most pop-

ular poster designer of the day, had been accorded two

one-man shows

and had received the Legion of Honor. Lautrec began b) following the trend, but he soon outdistanced

it.

\\ ith

his extraordinary

control of

friend Jules Renard. Lautrec, ÂŤ ho loved

animals and was zoos,

ilnl

a

Frequent

\

i~ii

nr

al

I'.in-

charming, sharpl) observed

charai terizations

"I

domestic Fauna, including

line

and

his use of bold areas of

color, he

flat

portant a form of graphic art as an\

one ilnnk

ul

sausages!"

He

the poster as im-

also gained

public

recognition: Parisians saw his work everywhere and were captivated bj

those shown above. Renard enthusiastically

exclaimed thai Lau tree's |hl "already makes

made

other.

it.

to the extenl of peeling the posters

off for their collections. Lautrec b\ lii-

work, or used his characteristic

pressed.

I

Uphonse asked, "W

scarcel) notice the \

II.

monogram. His

drunks over

h)

I

\

made

to

lather was not imin

there.

there, lie oil en took

up residence

in bordello-,

in

and were

the maisons closes be-

cause he was loud of their inhabitants. "The professional model,

56

them

own name

doesn't he go to England? The)

good man) of Lautrec's works depict scenes

actual

cam ing

pon hearing thai Lautrec had man) times been seen drunk

Count

Paris,

from the walls and

tln> time signed Ins

he


said, "is

always

like a stuffed owl.

These

madam

their dinners, seated opposite the

girls arc alive."

in a place ol

Hue d'Amboise, Lau-

vided the wine and flowers. In one maison, on the

became

trec

fine old

so friendly with the

Louis

XV room

for

that he decorated her salon, a

which he painted 16 panels, each nearh

feet high, filled with garlands girls, for

madam

He shared

honor, and pro-

and

girls.

He was

also a

>i\

customer of the

from Suzanne Valadon and one or two others who

aside

ac-

cepted him as a curiosity, no "lady" would have an affair with him.

Once, when one of the prostitutes on her day

him

a

bunch of

ers for weeks,

violets,

went out and bought

off

he was reduced almost to tears. He kept the flow

showing them

to his friends as

though they were the

-

gift

of a countess.

When

he was 34

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it is

remarkable that his health endured that long

Lautrec suffered a physical and nervous collapse. His family arranged

him

for

to be admitted to a

for several weeks.

On

sanatorium

his release

where he remained

in Neuilly,

he was provided with

a

companion,

who actually served as a guard to prevent Lautrec from The companion accompanied him everywhere, but with

ing.

success: Lautrec

managed

to get

small

drunk whenever he pleased, and

places where no liquor was available. Eventually

it

he had bought a hollow, glass-lined cane, which he

a

drink-

friend

in

was discovered that filled

with brandv

in

the morning and from which he drank whenever the guard's back was

turned. In 1901, aged 36, Lautrec ily

estate near Bordeaux, the

left

alyzed, almost deaf, and suffering last

hours his family

sat

home

Paris and went

to die

Chateau de Malrome. He was

from

a half

on the fam-

partially par-

dozen ailments. In his

by his bedside. His father got bored, and to

break the monotony suggested that he cut off Lautrecs beard.

he

said,

was,

It

an old Arab custom. Dissuaded from that. Count Alphonse con-

tented himself with removing the elastic from his boots and snapping

on the counterpane. Lautrec glanced up

at flies

smile,

"The

old bastard!"

ied, his father,

These were

at

him and

his final words.

W

said with a

hen he was bur-

thinking the pace of the funeral coach too slow, whipped

up the horse so that the mourners walking behind were obliged to

to

run

keep up.

^-7oon

after Lautrec's death,

one popular French

critic,

writing in Le

Courrier Frangais, expressed an opinion that was to be shared by several

others: "It sort.

is

Lautrecs

fortunate for humanity that there are few artists of his talent, for

it

would be absurd

to

deny him one, was an im-

moral talent of pernicious and unfortunate influence." For more than a generation this critical hostility in the popular press continued, the

burden of the complaint being that Lautrec was a wicked man. or limited in scope, or both.

To the charge

must be agreed that he found many of dance

hall,

that he

the theater and the brothel

small a world.

To the charge

that his

was limited

in scope,

it

his subjects in the world of the

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but

this

is

not. after

all.

talent was "immoral." time

so

itself

who have managed to survive the 20th Century, thus far, know by now what immorality really is and it is not to be found in Lautrec. He is no more immoral than a mirror. has provided the reply. Those

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;


T

he Paris where Van Gogh painted

a lightheaded city of gaiety

and

man

the late 1880s was

sin. Little

scene was reflected in \ an Gogh's of another

in

own

of the social

art,

but the work

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

of that giddy time.

When Van Gogh

is

a mirror

and Lautrec met

artists.

Demimonde

in

Paris in 1886, the 32-year-old Vincent had just arrived

was barely known, even among

Lautrec's

and

Lautrec, the son of

a French aristocrat, was just 22, but had a reputation as a skilled draftsman.

young man who

He was

also

becoming known as a wild

tried to forget his physical

the bawdy Parisian night

Due

life.

handicaps in

to improperly healed

fractures that had stunted the development of his legs,

Lautrec as an adult was only four feet eight inches

Dwarfed and hobbled as he was painfully with a cane

w heelchair life

and

at

tall.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he often walked

times was pushed

he nevertheless avoided

in a

self-pity.

He viewed

with intellectual detachment. "I've tried simply to

tell

the truth, not to idealize." he once said about his art.

Lautrec loved parties, and a joke. This lithographed in\ itation to a gathering

Lautrec plunged into the Parisian night world with reads:

abandon: he frequented dance

halls, brothels

and cafes,

drinking copiously, talking and sketching until dawn. \i

t

racted

l>\

people

in

action, he also haunted circuses,

will lie iireatU

him

join

studio in 1900

at his

"Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

lor a

honored

Saturday, Ma\

15, al

past three in the

sporting events and theater-, existence

in

lie

captured this frantic

paintings, draw ings. engra\ ings, watercolors

and lithographs

and

in

the po-icr^ that

made him

died

:>h

al

life

took

its toll.

Like \ an Gogh, he

the age of 37, hi> career brilliant and brief.

you

will

around half

afternoon."

Lautrec shows hmi-cll as an

animal tamer with -pur> and a riding crop confronting a huge

row

Famous. But the wild

if

cup of milk

.

Milk

hui hard

w.i- -cr\eil al the part)

li<|u<>r

was available

in

quantit) from a well-stocked bar.

.


O

0U*L<i«UL.

f^Wfi/t^f

i

59


'*&ÂŁ&*-

fifâ&#x201A;Ź..

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:

A,

.11

I

during

nableto

rule

Lautrec had

his life

because

enjoyed the race-,

the lithograph

I

line

al

who was

sleepless,

boyhood

-till

visits to

equestrian. In

n^ln his dynamic sense of composition

he sketch above,

-

fondness for horses

a -killed

charges horses and ruler- w "I a

clown, was executed lor Lautrec

a

physical handicap, he

a habit cultivated In

tracks with his father,

and

"I his

a

iili

power.

circus horse ridden

l>\

a

Female

rejoiced

at

Some

felt

to

them

In- art

had

himself imprisoned and begged to be released. Parti)

prove thai In- drinking Had nol damaged his mental

acuity, Lautrec completed a -eric- o| circus draw inn-

done from memory, an arduous worked from

triumphs thai the) helped the

60

:

oul\ glorified the seam) and sordid. Lautrec, lor In- part.

health was suffering under the pressures "I

was persuaded

unfriendl) critics openl)

lautrec"- confinement

drunken nights and

his famil)

the hciiiatr (limit

doctor friends to commil him to a sanitarium lor

lÂť\

treatmenl of alcoholism.

to

ver) specific purpose.

(hat Kan.

direct observation.

task since I

lie

artist

lie

results

usuall)

were such

win In- freedom.

I


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: The Jockey, 1899

61


Photo graphe Hi

v<!f

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec:

D fairly

uring the

final

two decades of the 19th Century, Paris

9,

Place Pigatle, P. Sescau Photograph, 1894

<a.

revue

blossomed with bright posters and magazine covers.

was

Chiefly responsible for this flowering of the graphic arts

the revival of lithography by artists who, like Lautrec, partly

blanche mensuelle

influenced by Japanese art, worked to perfect bold designs in

strong colors and stark outlines.

When

Lautrecs vibrant

posters and covers appeared on street corners and kiosks

IZ

they invariably attracted attention for their striking design

I

francs

An

pjr

râ&#x20AC;&#x17E;ÂŤ.L*ffi

He

and their wry humor. In the advertisement above he gently caricatured a photographer, his client, at work. For the

cover as a

nl a

bimonthly

model the wife

poster for

a

oi

literary review (right)

he slyly chose

one of the magazine's founders. In

a

struggling music hall called Le Divan Japonais

(far right), Lautrec focused on the sensitive beauty of the

then iiiiknou u dancer Jane \\ in tin-

ril,

v\hom he showed seated

audience. \n elderly roue, the music critic Edouard

Dujardin, eyes Jane appreciatively, while the star of the

show, the popular Yvette Guilbert, offal the neck. I.ai'trn

music

hall,

'-

is

which soon closed

stage

cut

lor lack of patrons. Hut this

andothei Lautrei portrayals of Jane "like a delirious orchid"

shown on

clever poster could not save the

helped

I"

\\ril

who danced

launch her as

a star.

Henri de foulouse Lautrec: La Revue Blanche, 1895

62


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Lc Divan Japonais. 1892

63


II. Tin clc

I n the â&#x20AC;˘

me

this:

at

(Âťl

is

ine\ itably linked with

the Moulin Rouge. There

place

Mm

1

1

11

1.

hi

n\

ol In- paintings.

.mil

he used

ii

good reason for

1-

he was a regular patron oi the new

hall in .H()

minds of many, Lautrec

I

\

built

some

Lautrec understood the nature 01

the Moulin Rouge, and in his work

In-

on

its

life

Ionised closel)

Femak

Kno. the

inhabitants. \bo\e

(down. Cha-l -Kao,

who

adjusts her costume

dance

a- the Betting oi

Toulouse-Lautrec: Cha-l

in a

i-

Clown, 189o

a portrayal of the

private room, the reflection oi

an older man. perhaps her lover,

i>

seen

mirror. In another candid portrait (righi called la

Coulue

is

performing

often worked there. \- she

m I

the wall

the -tar dancer

seen haughtily entering

tin-

Moulin


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: La Goulur Entering the Moulin Rouge, 1892

Rouge with two other

entertainers, the beefy La

Mome

Fromage and another, younger dancer. La Goulue appears

in action in

one of Lautrec's

paintings ( following pages). She

is

scene as she does a frenzied, yet

somehow

finest

the vital focus of the

with her long-legged partner Valentin

le

background

at right is

Lautrec's white-bearded father: at

the center rear in a black cape

elegant, dance

Desosse. In the

is

Jane Avril. This

command line

is

is

obvious: the figures are placed skillfully, the

animated, the colors interact excitingly. Such

work marked Lautrec

as a first-rank artist of his time.

65

,

is

Lautrec's largest painting of the Moulin Rouge, and his


Ii ~-/s

I

1

.

&

S ...

.^

I

1 ***

'


-v

â&#x20AC;˘

s

w-

1

,

\

Ji

X I

If

I \

'.

I

Henri de ToulouseLautrec: The

Da me at

the Moulin Rouge.

1890


IV Friends and Influences

Vincent found more stimulation

than just the work of the Im-

in Paris

pressionists and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The

city

was booming with

activity,

and

particularly in art, and Vincent did his best while there to see similate

all

that

bombardment too

much

work

for

was good among the new and the

as-

old. Before long, the

of sensations, experiences and influences would prove

him and he would have

in peace.

to retreat to the countryside to

But for a while he immersed himself

have found a new mistress for a time; he continued his

he may

in Paris:

visits to

guy's shop to see what his contemporaries were up to; he

Pere Tan-

came

to

know

the important and influential young painters, including the inventor of Pointillism, Georges Seurat,

and the stockbroker-turned-artist. Paul

Gauguin. He was also particularly intrigued by the work of the great Japanese print makers,

among them Hiroshige and Hokusai, whose

brightly

colored woodcuts had been imported to Europe in large numbers in

re-

cent years. Like the palette of the Impressionists, the art of Japan

would greatly influence him. It

was only

"opened

who Gauguin intended girl in

you

this portrait of a

Breton costume as

to the girl

a thank-

and her husband

extending him generous credit

for

on a flower-strewn

ground, did not look to them

like

Angele; furthermore, Angele's short,

homely husband thought

that the exotic figurine at the

was a caricature of him. The bewildered couple rejected

Gauguin's

gift

poked

was time

his

Commodore Matthew

Perry,

cannon into the Japanese eve and sugge^ed commercial exchange. A few years

later the

that

it

first

Japanese prints reached London and Paris. In 1867 and again

for a little

1878 they appeared

in

in

the Paris world exhibitions, and were so popular

that in 1883 Parisian collectors put together a

left

to

them.

It

show devoted exclusi\el\

was not only the picturesque subject matter

ures, animals, birds, exotic

found fascinating, but the

costumes and landscapes style as well.

The

legendary

fig-

that the collectors

prints, with their Hat pat-

terns of color and lack of shadow, their strong design and decorative qualities, were unlike any then generallv known in Europe. \ incent, in company with many other Western painters, happily adopted and adapted the Japanese manner himself, and often acknowledged his debt to it.

of gratitude.

In Paul Gauguin:

La Belle

politely

year of V incent's birth, that Japan had been

by the American,

to the \^ est

at

their cafe. But the portrait, set like a medallion

in 1853, the

,,

Ingele, 188')

one of

his finest self-portraits

f/w^r

/

78) he seems to be seeking an in-

tensely religious feeling, but the thought of Japan was not far from hi?

mind. As he wrote Theo, "1 aimed

at

the character of a bonze [Oriental

69


monk], as a simple worshiper of the Eternal Buddha. ...

have made

I

the eyes slightly slanting like the Japanese."

Although he had become acquainted with Japanese was

in Paris that

had

literally a

he

warehouse

own

out to form his

art in

full

Antwerp,

it

— one dealer

saw the prints in large quantity

first

of them. Enchanted. \ incent soon set

collection and in time accumulated several hun-

dred items, which he valued so highly that he compared the Japanese masters

— in

permanence,

It

was the

anv

at

countrvmen Rembrandt and

rate

— with

the Greeks. Hals, and his

ermeer.

\

and clear outline of the prints that most

brilliant color

stronglv caught his eve as he emerged from the dark tonalities of his

Dutch period. But

was

his constant regard for the social function of art

involved too. The prints, even after the cost of transporting them half-

way around the

earth, could

be sold in Paris for onlv one or two

still

francs and thus were within the reach of people to w horn he addressed

own work.

his

show up pen I

\

>r

In the I'Mli

iit

f

i\ -<>

j

r\

arh-i Hiroshige

impressed

painters.

1

\

an Gogh and man)

he power

In

expressive

ol

oi his fellow

cloudburst,

ol a

conveyed

e, is

series ol parallel lines.

in a kitchen."

shows up well

Such de\

ices

were

basic tmil

i-

boldness

in

which the artist

a -har|> knife. \

he Hiroshige print i.

a

who

ies

of fine works of art available to

artists

workingmen

on

hap-

I

something

is

his

own

make copnow in

low cost, and

at

would arrange an

ex-

where the general public would be

His efforts on behalf of Japanese

effect

mav

he wrote, "and then

in a parlor too. but this

Paris he approached the idea from another angle: he

expected

will

might, through lithographv.

an association of

it.

my work

head about." He had long since sketched out an idea

for

likelv to see

that

art

career, for in a strange

were

to

have an un-

way the Japanese

ex-

Japanese restraint; the) were

wood-block medium,

i

mv

never bother

it

hibition of Japanese prints in a place

l>>r

nothing more than

also parti) imposed b) the limitations of the

(belou

good advantage

to discover that

way

best to paint in such a

the Japanese simplicity of style that

pifies

instam

< -<- ti 1

to

mv

do

""I

although ol tin-

in a

In-

first

public show ing of

\

incent's paintings.

s

an Gogh copied

painting of his ou n

brush softened the

Japanese »

hibition was related to the

I<

ut.

E,or some time

\

incent had been dining in a caie called Le Tambourin.

not far from the apartment he shared with

Theo

in

Mont mart re. The

tablishment- the tables were drum-shaped and the walls hung w

bourines bearing pictures and poems contributed by the patrons

woman. Agostina Segatori (page \outh had served as a model for Corot. The details

run by an

lationship with her are cloudy, but

was called,

it

to allow

anese prints. There

him

to

fill

ol

\

incent

her s

re-

l.a

Segatori, as -lie

the restaurant with a collection of Jap-

no record of the success or failure

i>

was

in

appears that for a while she wa-

any event he was able to .persuade

in- mistress. In

who

II).

Italian

es-

h tam-

it

the show;

ol

very likel) the customers paid more attention to the menu. \- his

friendship with

bourin with

a

number

l.a

of

whether these were hung

Segatori developed, he decorated Le lani-

his in

own

painting-, although

hopes of a sale or were

or commissions tor which he expected to be paid. the a Hair

one

m

came

melancholy conclusion. He

to a

the restaurant, perhaps

been jealous of his attentions

a

to

m

judge her

in tin-

I

nol clear

(hired not.

to

got into a light with

in

the

summer

he Tainbourin. because

\nd

business, hut that

some-

who ma) have

Segatori. and thereafter she broke

l.a

I

woman

hatever the case,

1887 when

ol

Holland, Vincenl provided onl) hint-

had taken place. "I have been they would think

i>

gifts to the \\

waiter or customer

with him. In a letter lo Theo. written

Theo was on vacation

it

I

it

said to

was

l.a

il

I

Segatori that

ol

what

did not go I

did not

lor her to judge herself.

I

hat


I

had torn up the receipt for the pictures, but that she ought

erything. to

That

somehow mixed up

me, she would have come to see

come

not

me,

to see

took

I

away,' which

scarce.

the next day. That since she had

knew they were trying

me when

to pick a

she said, 'Go t

want

...

I

saw the waiter too

I

did not want to take the pictures straight

when

went

I

in.

but he

when you came back we could talk it over, because much as to me, and that meanwhile

said that

I

to return ev-

what happened

Now,

understand either.

but

in

did not understand at the time and perhaps didn

I

made himself off,

me

that she

it

with me, but that she had tried to warn

fight

to

she had not been

if

the pictures belonged to vou as

I

urged her to think over what had happened again. She did not look

and was

well,

as white as

wax."

In the upshot \ incent

paintings,

and

little

museum

directors

may

have been able

to

to retrieve his

have been sold as waste canvas

later they are said to

— for as

bundles of 10

and

seems not

as 10 cents a bundle.

in

Although collectors

grind their teeth at this,

is

it

by no means

the onlv instance of the wholesale destruction or disappearance of his

work. In 1885, after he large

number

left

Holland following his father's death, a

of his studies were stored in a carpenter's house in the

town of Breda. More than 40 years ited

Breda

later, in

1926, a Dutch scholar

hope of discovering what had happened

in the

to the

and paintings. He found that the carpenter had given them er

who had peddled them from

a handcart.

Some

of

to a

vis-

draw ings

junk deal-

them had gone

to

an innkeeper and he had given them as prizes to customers who con-

sumed

sufficiently large

amounts of

householder to patch holes oration on an attic door storers

who removed

beer. Others had been used by a

and one had been glued

in walls,

the door was sawed apart and delivered to re-

the canvas from the wood. But of the original

cache, which appears to have included

90 pen drawings and as many covered. in

as

200

in

more than 200

paintings, about

crayon, only a fraction was

another large hoard of early work was stored

Still

as a dec-

No

1886. just before Vincent went to Paris.

in

re-

Antwerp

part of that priceless ac-

cumulation has ever been found.

The

loss of

some paintings

did not discourage Vincent's attempts to

display his work. In Paris he helped to organize hibitions, with

somewhat happier

at least

two other ex-

results than he had obtained at Le

Tambourin. At one of these shows,

in a

huge, skylighted restaurant

called La Fourche, he displayed about 100 canvases. Vincent sales

— the customers

erated the show

.

.

.

in the restaurant,

although they were a

little

but

continued to broaden.

who came

Ye,ery

few great painters

en a more cision,

to study the paintings,

scientific

Among

those

who

art

among

Pa-

did not exhibit.

was Georges Seurat.

perhaps onlv Leonardo da Vinci

approach to

''tol-

disconcerted." However,

there were indirect benefits: Vincents circle of acquaintances risian artists

made no

according to one observer,

than Seurat.

A man

of

— have tak-

immense

pre-

he has the misfortune of being forever tied to an imprecise term

— Pointillism — which of superb works he

he detested. And although he produced a number

is,

in the

Lmited States, generally identified with

only one of them: Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte,


the widely reproduced painting that

now

is

the proud possession of the

Art Institute of Chicago.

when

Seurat was 27

incent encountered him, and died of an un-

\

known

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he

guarded his privacy so well that even his closest friends did not

dis-

diagnosed illness

1891. His personal

at 31. in

life is little

cover until after his death that he had had a mistress and a son. His artistic

education was orthodox:

18 he was admitted to the ultracon-

at

servative Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and he studied there for about

two years, concentrating on drawing and geometric theorv under a teacher

who was

hercelv opposed to Romanticism. Impressionism or indeed

anv deviation from academic tradition. Outside the Ecole. when Seurat focused his intellect on the work of his immediate predecessors

Monet and

pressionists Pissarro.

their colleagues

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he found

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Imwanting.

it

L-Jeurat's objection to Impressionism was not, however, one of principle.

Despite his training he stronglv svmpathized with the effort to cre-

ate the

of changing

illusion

natural

and color. He

light

felt

the

Impressionists had not been svstematic enough. In their use of quick, isolated strokes, blurred outlines

and pure pigments thev had ignored

laws of color that Seurat believed are discoverable bv science and "can

be taught like music." L ters of color

ntil his

time, he thought, even the greatest mas-

had achieved their

And as it happened. Seurat

s

effects largely

bv

intuition.

brilliant

time was the right one in which to find meth-

ods and rational guidelines. The air of the late

19th Centurv was

pervaded bv science and invention: Pasteur, Darwin and Edison were

household gods,

anv

at

rate

among the

enlightened. Seurat and his paint-

er friends, including Paul Signac. eagerly read scientific treatises to dis-

cover what might be applied

Law

to art.

of Simultaneous Contrast of Colors

Chevreul: Phenomena

of

I

ision

Among

the kev works were The

bv the Frenchman Michel-Eugene

bv David Suiter, a Swiss: and Modern

Chromatics by the American 0. N. Rood, a Columbia professor.

The

scientists Investigated

such matters as "optical mixture." which

had previously been known to

much used

artists but not

of Delacroix in the mid- 19th Centurv. Seurat ciple

and made

for example,

man)

tin\

.

fundamental of his

a

it

effect,

or one ver) near

make

it-

such optical mixture was preferable i

human

support

can be obtained bv stip-

j

produced colors

it

thai

v

ision, w hich

I-

(Mix

cause

to

The colors seem muted. The "fault"

this.

should, and parti)

tendenc) ic

it.

were more

brant and luminous. Rut in fact, an examination ol Seurat 's paintings

will not

it

order to produce green,

el low and blue on a canvas and perown mixture. To Seurat and Paul Signac.

separated spots ol

mitting the eye to

\

art. In

until the time

seized on this prin-

not necessarv to blend yellow and blue pigments on a

is

The same

palette.

pling

it

now

lade

\

lies

partly in

does not respond precisel) as the scientists thought in

the paints used by Seurat,

some of which had

year after his death his friend and champion, the

a

crit-

Feneon, studied the Grande Jatte and was obliged to report: "Be-

ol

the color.- which Seurat used

mi port a nee has

lost it-

.

.

.

tin- painting ol historical

luminou- charm while the red- and blue- arc

served, the Veronese greens are now

:

pre-

olive-greenish, and the orange

tones w Inch represented lighl now represenl nothing but holes.


However, Seurats theories never depended on complete ture; he was far

have on each other. According

that adjacent colors

multaneous contrast of colors" influence one another

complementary on blue, for example, flect"

is

when

However,

orange, and

if

down by Chevreul,

set

side,

result that both

each

"si-

its

own

opposite, of

the two are juxtaposed each will "re-

if

noncomplementary

and blue, appear side by

effect

of

colors mutually

The complementary, or

neighbor.

its

to a law

placed side by side, each imposing

upon the other, with the

tensified.

optical mix-

more concerned with incomplete mixture, the

will

seem strengthened and

allied colors,

in-

such as purple

sap the vitality of the other.

In order to take full advantage of the simultaneous contrast of col-

without having to pause to think about "opposites." Seurat followed

ors,

Chevreul's theories and constructed a color disc arranged so that complementaries were opposite each other, 180 degrees removed on the

and could be located

disc,

at a glance.

The

colors that Seurat used were

limited to the hues of the visible spectrum, for stituents of sunlight as the

human

eye can see

create the effect of the fleeting play of light ers

and browns, the muddy colors that

it

it,

was only these, the conthat could, he thought,

upon the world. Black, och-

exist as

pigments but not as com-

ponents of the sun's spectrum, were eliminated. In painting, Seurat began by brushing in an approximation of the local color of

an object

patch of turf.

On

— an

area of green, for example, to represent a

superimposed many tiny strokes

this he

to the influence of the colors of

dealing not only with color but with light (dots) to indicate direct light

many

to

correspond

nearby objects. But then, since he was

and

still

itself,

he added other strokes

others for reflected

light.

The

strokes were optically mixed by the viewer, and the fragmentation

of color and light on the canvas gave rise to the term by which the style

was known

refers

more

to Seurat

to a stippling

— Divisionism. The popular term, Pointillism. To help him

technique than to Seurat"s theory.

select precisely

colors. Seurat copied a It

true that Seurat frequently used the tip of his brush to

is

make

small round dots, but these were only incidental to his system.

small strokes resulting in dashes, ovals or as well,

and

all

never executed

commas would have

these can in fact be found on his canvases in a drearily

artists

women were

— his

— which were

critics,

lavmen

technique was called "petit-point." pregnant

warned not

to look at his pictures lest their chilis

said to

have called him "a

ph\

>icist

and amateur painter Oaden N. Rood.

The wheel

identifies

'2'2

exact

complementaries. using the name:-

pigments rather than

critic

Feneon, almost alone, grasped what was

down

this description: *Tf

in progress,

\%

Inch dots of pure color, seen

will find

on each inch of

the elements which

its

the

human

Seurats

eye. Thi?

Pointillist

Jatte,

make up the

tone.

ow: most of the strokes render the

Take

became

lit-

vou all

this grass plot in the shad-

local value of the grass: others, or-

ange-tinted and thinly scattered, express the scarcely

felt

a

a ba>is for

brush technique.

and

surface, in a whirling host of tinv spots,

at

distance, tend to blend into new, mixed

vou consider a feu

square inches of uniform tone in Monsieur Seurats Grande

l-t "-

Rood's

book al-o discussed the optical phenomenon b\

with a shrug.

in Seurat's lifetime set

ot art

scientific term-.

chemist." However, Seurat had the self-confidence to accept this

Thhe

the one

like

above from a textbook by the American

in

facetiously

dren be born speckled, and Paul Gauguin tle

served

uniform, mechanical way. For his pains.

Seurat was obliged to endure ferocious criticism from

and fellow

Any

complementar\

diagram

action of the

sun; bits of purple introduce the complement to green: a cyanic blue.

73


provoked by the proximity of [another] cumulates

siftings

its

plot of grass in the sunlight, ac-

toward the line of demarcation, and beyond that

point progressively rarefies them. Only two elements

produce the grass teraction

in

come together

the sun: green and orange-tinted light, anv

to in-

complementaries] being impossible

(of reflected light or

in

the furious heat of the sun's rays."

Feneon, to distinguish between the "old-fashioned"' or "romantic" Impressionists in one categorv. and Seurat and his friends (Paul Si-

gnac particularly) for the latter,

The

well.

in

who

another,

used the term Neo-Impressionists

first

are sometimes called Scientific Impressionists as

distinction between the two sorts of Impressionists

made -with one exception. Camille

is

easilv

Pissarro. that admirable, open-mind-

ed man. produced work of both kinds. Having been one of the originators of Impressionism in his youth. Pissarro in his mid-fifties recognized

the brilliance of Seurat 's theories and

But

tures.

considered it.

He

it

made

soon abandoned

Pissarro

a

number of

Divisionism.

Divisionist pic-

because he

not

unsound but because he was temperamentallv unsuited

to

preferred reasonably quick results and could not bring himself to

spend two years on a single canvas, as Seurat had done on the Grande Julie.

He continued

ment and

to paint until his death at 73. despite a painful eye ail-

a respiratorv

problem that caused Theo van Gogh

the old fellow was "wearing

some kind of

to note that

muzzle.""

L_Jeurat persisted in his methodical approach for the duration of his brief career. But

it

was not only Divisionism with which he was con-

He was also engrossed with an attempt to recapture the calm digand monumentally of early Italian Renaissance masters, partic-

cerned. nity

ularlv Piero della Francesca. His figures, almost always presented in The evenly often used

apparent

sized dots

<>l

paint that Seurat so

in hi> I)i\ isionist

in the

technique are

nude stud) above. Bj using

separately colored points of paint, a

method

derived from scientific principles ol color

front, back or profile view, are so logicallv

would seem

to require

dvnamite

and precisely placed that

it

move them.

to

Seurat also had a sharplv defined theory of esthetics, based partially

on old truths long known by intuition

to painters

and

partially

on mod-

mixing, Seurat believed he more closely

ern research in psvchologv. In brief summary. Seurat held that a sense

matched the

of calm and order in painting

effects

produced

h\ colors in

nature. Hut he also preferred the technique

because each

hit

it

made

\

ibrant colors

and dark

light

and warm colors, and by establishing an equilibrium be-

and allowed

of paint to dr\ evenly, thus assuring

consistent tones throughout

tones, of cool

obtained by a balance ot

is

a painting.

tween horizontal and vertical forms. Gaiety results from of light or luminous tones,

warm

a

dominance

colors and lines that seem to spring up-

ward; sadness by the opposites. These ideas, to be sure, seem com-

monplace and not thunderous today, but formal statement of them and

impression.

first

\ll

his

on the work of the 20th (lenlur\

left

to

applied

them

chance or

rig-

to the

even the

thai

new grandeur and dignit)

a

a

for-

but one thai has had great impact

art. .

incent's emotional approach to art

was at the opposite pole from SeuWith Theo he called

but Vincent understood and admired him.

on Seurat

work

first

forms are carefull) simplified, so

midable and perhaps antiseptic

rat's,

was Seural who made the

who

nothing was

most bourgeois subjects acquire

\

was he

it

orously. In his work absolute!)

it

-i ill

in 111

hi> studio,

where

tin-

progress. For a tune

in

Grande Jatte hung on the I

'an-

\

incenl

*all near

made Divisional

pic-

tures of his own. although he was inclined to use the small Strokes

71


more

for their textural value than otherwise. His instinct

plowed rat's

of paint and toward thick impasto

fields

W

canon.

plementary colors shout "Blue

.

most appreciated

hat he

Seu-

in

Seurat was his work with com-

discussions of art Vincent would frequenth

in

orange! Blue

.

.

in

was toward

— both impossible

.

.

orange!" In his later paintings he

.

used complementaries with more effect than any painter before or since, with perhaps the sole exception of Matisse.

Vincent probably learned Seurat's theories not from the

him-

artist

from Signac, who was Seurat's friend and the man most

self but

responsible for articulating his theories.

An

and gay com-

intelligent

panion, Signac befriended \ incent and accompanied him on painting ex-

On

peditions to Asnieres, a suburb of Paris on the Seine.

eral rectangles in order to little

museum,"

have

all

as

make

a

number

of studies at one session

one acquaintance called

me

Close beside

little

— "a

(The divided canvases

it.

"Van Gogh, dressed

vanished.) In Signac's recollection,

blue plumber's blouse, had painted

in a

dots of color on his sleeves.

he shouted and gesticulated, brandishing his large, fresh-

ly

covered canvas, and with

all

the colors of the rainbow."

it

he smeared himself and passersby with

enthusiasm was almost always beyond control. Archibald

\ incent's

who

Hartrick. the Briton his

such occasions

often carried a very large canvas which he would divide into sev-

\ incent

described him as "glancing back at you over

shoulder and hissing through his teeth," had somewhat more to say

about his eccentric behavior while

another English

artist,

in Paris.

Hartrick shared a

Henry Ryland, who was rather

with

flat

a feeble type

he was prone to sick headaches and produced "weak watercolors of the "La belle to

pay a

dame sans merci' type." On one occasion Vincent dropped

call

on Hartrick but found only Ryland

at

tercolors, \ incent launched into a furious diatribe

true art. his

When

head w rapped

you and

I

on the nature of

Hartrick returned he found Ryland "a sickly yellow." in a

towel soaked in vinegar.

cried Ryland. "That terrible for

in

home. Seeing the wa-

can't stand

it

man

"W

here have you been?"

has been here for two hours waiting

any more."

own shortcomings. "I cannot always keep much a part of myself that it is sometimes as if they took me by the throat [but] it always hurts me, it makes me nervous, when I meet somebody about whose work I \

incent recognized his

quiet." he said, "as

my

convictions are so

.

have to say, 'But that like anything,'

me,

till

and

some day

I

it

is

.

.

neither good nor bad, that reallv does not look

me

gives

find out

a sort of choking feeling that stavs with

he has something good

in

him."

V.

incent occasionally disconcerted both strangers and acquaintances

by his mere appearance. A few of the self-portraits he made

in Paris

(pages 178-1 TV) reveal him as well-dressed, almost natty, but as a rule

he was not

— he preferred to be taken for a laborer. That

scribed by Paul Gauguin, the one great painter

and who

left

is how he was dewho knew him intimately

behind observations of him that were sharply detailed

not always objective. In a book of memoirs called Avant

et

guin saw not only the appearance but also the character of the "It

is

beginning to snow.

It is

winter.

You

get a

shroud

if

4pres Gau-

man

:

gratis: that

is

75


The poor freeze, though the landlords often more rapidly than usual, and without anv desire to go out and make merry, pedestrians on this December dav bustle along in the Rue Lepic in our good city of Paris. Among them is one man who is shivering with cold and is dressed in a queer manner. He is hurrying along, down the outer boulevards. He is wrapped in a goatwhat the sheet of snow

cannot grasp

is.

this. \^ alking

skin and wears a fur cap, probably rabbitskin, and has a straggly red

A

beard.

drover would look like that.

cattle

"Don't glance

at

him

superficially, don't go on, despite the cold, with-

out observing his well-shaped white hand, his childishly clear blue eyes.

He must be a poor devil. "His name is \ incent van Gogh. "He hurries into a shop where they ages and cheap

picture is

artist!

a little

'Can you

my

paintings.

oil

You gave away part of your soul when vou which you are now trying to dispose of.

"Poor

"It

old ironwork, arrows of sav-

sell

pink shrimps on pink paper.

still life:

let

painted the

me have

money

a little

for this picture, so

I

can pav

rent?'

Mon Dieu. my friend, my trade is getting difficult too. Thev ask me for cheap Millets! Then, vou know." adds the shopkeeper, "vour paint'

ing

is

not very gay.

The Renaissance

sav you have a talent and is

I

should

the thing nowadays.

is

W ell.

thev

do something for vou. Here

like to

five francs.'

"And

the coin chinks on the counter. \ an

He

thanks the shopkeeper and goes.

test,

Gogh

takes

it

without pro-

Rue Lepic again who has

goes up the

with a heavy tread. Near his lodgings a wretched streetwalker

escaped from the

just

for a client.

St.

Van Gogh

Lazare comes along, smiling

well read.

is

He

at

him. hoping

thinks of La Fille Elisa

[a

then-

current novel about a prostitute], and his five-franc coin belongs to the

poor creature. He dashes

off.

as

though ashamed of

his generositv. with

an empty stomach."

Thhere

one

is

detail in

Gauguin's anecdote that seems unlikely

\ in-

cent would scarcely have been concerned about paying the rent while In

ingin Theo's apartment like \ incent,

that both

was a

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but otherwise

prolific writer.

had come very

ship,

painters were also alike in

and both were belligerent 1\ pos-

but here the similaritv ended. Gauguin, muscular

itive in their ideas

in his beliefs as

there was almost nothing on which the two

more than

a few days.

which

in \

a superior

Vincent was

men could

Nevertheless the) entered into

a

five

man and

years older than he,

artist,

and

lor a time

\

Uthough

incent looked up to

would

gladl)

ide-

agree for

strange friend-

incent's ease was touched with hero worship.

Gauguin was only

-

has the ring of truth. Gauguin,

The two

late to art.

and self-assured, was as hardheaded alistic;

it

him

have become

as his

disciple. \ lier

that

incent

first

met Gauguin

year,

Paris in

where Senrat "s Grande

and almost theatrical

76

in

seen several of Gauguin's picture-

figure.

Jatte

November in

I88()

was also hung.

Gauguin wore

he had ear-

the Impressionist show

a beret

\

ol

commanding

pushed low oxer

his


1

Mette Gauguin gathered her

in

1888.

It

had been

five

children

five

about her for a formal portrait

in

Copenhagen

years since her

husband had Forsaken finance

for art.

and four

since thej tried to hold their marriage

together by mo\ ing to Mette's

home

Copenhagen. There Gauguin had

in

tried to pain)

while working as a traveling salesman, but bj

June 1885 he wa> determined complete break and returned Mette

in

Denmark,

lie

\

to

isited

children brief!) before he

left

make

a

to Paris, leaving

Mette and the for Tahiti in

1891 (when the photo below »a> taken), but

they never lived together again.

eyes, walked with a rolling gait

and carried

a

walking stick that he had

carved with bizarre designs. His background was exotic, and he quently used his it

boyhood

it

in

to

fre-

impress others. Born in Paris, he had passed part of

— his mother was of Spanish-Peruvian

Lima

was his boast that he had the blood of the Inca

youth he had served

in the

French merchant marine, had

the world, and in the Franco-Prussian

War

and

stock,

As a

in his veins.

sailed

around

had been a crewman aboard

a corvette in the North Sea. But at 23 he had turned to a business career

and had taken

a job as a stockbroker in the Paris Bourse. For

years he had worked there, sometimes earning the

come

of 40,000 francs.

He had married

handsome annual

a proper

Danish

from

girl

Copenhagen, fathered four children, and had shown every sign of tling into a

comfortable bourgeois middle age. But

Bourse and informed

his disapproving wife that

at

1

in-

set-

34 he had quit the

he intended to become

a painter.

Although the change did not come without warning, Gauguin's wife never forgave him for

and took

it

as

had no income

it

— she had bargained for a well-to-do businessman

domestic treason when he turned to at all. In his

day pastime and had also invested considered trash

art

moneyed days he had begun

— works by Cezanne,

fairly

and suddenlv

to paint as a

Manet, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro

and others. As a collector he had met Pissarro, who undertook struct

him

in painting,

and from that time onward

Bourse rapidly waned. By his 31st year, skilled as

Sun-

heavilv in what his wife

in

to in-

his interest in the

1879, he had

become

was exhibited

in the

fourth show arranged by the Impressionists, and

he continued to display his pictures with them until the eighth and

show

in

When

so

an "amateur" that his work (with Pissarro's sponsorship)

1886

last

by which time his business career was over.

Vincent met him Gauguin's savings were gone

in

the pre-

ceding winter, close to starvation, he had worked as a billposter in a freezing Paris railroad station at five francs a day. His wife and children


now

had moved

Copenhagen to live near her moththem when Gauguin implored her to send him a few blankets she allowed him to shiver for two months before complying. However, there was nothing in the least hangdog about (there were

five)

to

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

taking the family furniture with

er,

Gauguin; he was a supreme egotist who expounded his theories of

art

with a vehemence that amounted to rudeness, quarreling with his old

whose

friend Pissarro and then with Seurat,

mired. at

He

first

ad-

knew

hand, and where he believed the roots of art could be redis-

first

covered in pure atmosphere,

A

rupt.

ideas he had at

talked constantly of voyaging to the tropics, which he

and societies

brilliant colors

uncor-

still

few months after meeting Vincent, Gauguin proved to be as

good as his word

mus

of

fish

and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he took ship

Panama, where "the fruit for

for the island of Taboga, off the Isth-

air is

very healthy, and for food, there are

nothing/' His act cannot have failed to impress

\ in-

who admired men who followed their art wherever it led. and who already had some awesome credentials in that regard himself.

cent,

G

lauguin's fond vision of a painter's paradise was very soon shat-

tered.

Taboga had become "civilized" since he had

seaman.

An

international

company headed bv

visited

it

as a

merchant

the French engineer Fer-

dinand de Lesseps, who had supervised the construction of the Suez

Some 10.000 laamong the snakes and rats in the mosquito-infested home for them had been built on Gauguin's island.

Canal, was attempting to duplicate the feat in Panama.

borers were sweating

swamps; a

rest

Prices of food and shelter were outrageous and the local police vicious,

harrying any stranger

who seemed

to

them

Gauguin was

a vagrant.

more than

obliged to work as a laborer on the canal, swinging a pick for 12 hours a day to earn passage

money

where he hoped conditions might be

another island. Martinique,

to

better.

But when he got there he

was dogged bv sickness and poverty; he auctioned side

and went

off his

to live in a hut by the edge of the sea. Yet

watch

at

dock-

somehow he man-

aged to paint, and after a seven-month absence made his way back to

France with several canvases.

Gauguin's paintings had, or hinted of thoughts a

trifle

at. a

kind of mysterv

.

a

suggestion

too deep for words, and they* impressed \ incent van

Gogh when he saw them exhibited

at

Theo's gallery. Possibly the paint-

impressed him overmuch; perhaps he read his own profound

ings

meanings into what was merely decorative. In any case he would have casion to see Paul Gauguin It

was time

lor Vincent to leave Paris and. like

again on his own.

anese His ily

art,

Gauguin, strike out

He had had more than enough stimulation already changed greatly

he no longer tried primar-

express his love lor mankind b) depicting men. particularly the

poor and oppressed, but sought fering In- feelings on

to state

a less direct bul

it

in

landscapes and

more complex

still lifes, of-

level. In Paris fie

to make make Ins

was not necessarv or perhaps even desirable

had found that

it

a picture of a

poor peasanl

in

worn-out hoots

in

point. Instead he painted onl\ the hoot- themselves;

order

to

and these

rugged shabbiness conveyed far more. Nor did he need

78

Jap-

the Impressionists, Seurat and Signac, Lautrec and Gauguin.

own work had to

at

oc-

deadly close range soon enough.

to

work

in their in

hues


:

more powerfully

of tarnished coins and green soap- brilliant color spoke

and more

As

directly.

had changed, so had

his art

helmina,

home

at

"My home

with their mother

always ends

it

from

that the place looks far

would be

it

right for him,

I

in quarrels; besides,

attractive.

just a reason for

me

but

if

I

were

as

is

if

he had two persons

and tender, the other

icate

in

him

egotistical

me any

can hardly

I

— one marvelously gifted, del-

and hardhearted. They present

themselves in turn, so that one hears him talk

one way, then

in

first

now

the other, and this always with arguments which are against the

makes

Theo

same

^

It is

a pity that he

ilhelmina advised

replied, "Tt

sion,

point.

is

own enemy,

his

is

Theo

to "leave

such a peculiar case.

if

have not been wrong

I

in

V incent for God's sake,"

case

I

must continue

w hat he makes

if

now

is

I

have often asked

helping him continually, and have

him

often been on the point of leaving in this

for he

he only had another profes-

If

would long ago have done what you advise me.

I

myself

in

now

all for.

hard not only for others but for himself."

life

But when

and

to go

can do nothing

I

doing just that, for

is

by

live

him

to tell

to stay. Since

me

to see

so untidy

is

it.

"It

all

il-

come

wish he would go and

I

it,

him

he

W

he

only ask for one thing: that he does not cause

trouble. But by staying with

bear

to quarrel

sister,

Holland

in

himself; he sometimes speaks about

away,

youngest

to their

almost unbearable; no one wants to

life is

any more because

and

to drink heavily

Theo wrote

with Theo. In desperation

around him.

his relations with those

Nervous and exhausted, he had begun

to his

own devices but is certainly He an .

.

.

not always beautiful,

think

I

in the same way.

artist,

will certainly

it

be of

use to him later; then his work will perhaps be sublime."

w„

ithout pressure

He knew

from Theo, Vincent reached

was on the verge of

that he

a

to leave Paris. In

February 1888 he suddenly departed for south-

ern France, intending to go

had heard

much

decision.

To save himself he would

with alcohol and unable to control his nerves.

have

own

his

complete breakdown, sodden

first

to Aries

and then

of the Midi from Toulouse-Lautrec,

to Marseilles.

who

in his

He

youth

had spent some time there, and he was attracted bv the prospect of a

warmer sun and brighter

sky. Indeed, although there

is

no great

re-

semblance between southern France and Japan, he had convinced himself that the two were very similar. As he told Theo.

anese painting, we have that in

felt its

common — then why

alent of Japan, the Midi?

new

art

now

lies in

influence

all

Thus

I

e like Jap-

the Impressionists have

not go to Japan, that

is

think that after

to say to the equiv-

all

the future of the

the south."

was impossible for bitterness to

It

""\^

exist

between the brothers for

very long. Before departing, Vincent arranged his room in Theo's apart-

ment

so that

Theo might have the

feeling he

the walls with Japanese prints and

He

left

was

one of

still

there

— he decorated

his paintings

on the

easel.

took the train to Aries, and after he had gone Theo wrote once

more

to their sister: "It

much

to

seems strange

to be

without him.

He meant

so

me."

79


JTaul Gauguin, the 35-year-old French stockbroker

who

suddenly abandoned the position, luxuries and responsibilities of a middle-class his life to painting, has

become

businessman to devote

a sort of folk hero to every

desk-bound dreamer. His amazing decision, however, was neither so abrupt nor so reckless as

Gauguin certainly

brougham with

it

might seem.

Gauguin: A Late Beginning

lived richly, affording himself a

denying his wife no fashionable

driver,

extravagance, carpeting his

home with

Oriental rugs,

stocking his garden with rare roses. But there was another side to his

life.

He had

years.

He chose

lived;

he covered

painted as an amateur for

a house in a Paris suburb its

walls with

and worked long hours

in a

where

many artists

contemporary paintings,

huge studio

After leaving his office, he haunted the

near the Stock Exchange, and studied

in the garden.

many

art galleries

at a variety

of art

schools before he became a pupil of the Impressionist

master Camille Pissarro.

Some

exhibited and admired, and he optimisticallv

he could maintain his scale of mistaken.

I

ess

I

lian

li\

ho took his

five

borrowed from

Gauguin

1

1

including his

children, lurnit ure and art

Denmark.

\

a friend,

lane inn in Brittany.

It

In I88(). with left

money

Paris to live at a

was there, during the next

lour years, that his distinctive style slowl) enierged.

80

that

He was

three years after he gave up his

collection to her native

cheap

assumed

ing b) painting.

regular job in 1883. everything was gone wife, w

One

of his pictures had been

of the strongest influences on

Gauguin's developing

was

-t\ If

that of Japane-e prints, also

admired b) such other artistic inno\ ators a(

.null.

in tin-

I

j

(

e/anne and

tabletop

\

Japanese de\

picallj

-till life

an ices

are the

arbitrar) perspective, the Hal

plane-, the uniform areas ol color.

and hold outline- around the puppies, howl-, iruit and glasses.

Paul Gauguin:

Still Life

Three Puppies, 1888

with


81


82


Paul Gauguin: Portrait of Meyer de Haan. 1889

I, -n Brittany Gauguin found an unexpected companionship of sympathetic like

Van Gogh, whom he met

his work, but here a

attracted to him.

Bernard,

who

artists.

A

in Paris in 1886.

whole group of young

He became

described the

premium: the

few other painter-,

had admired

artists

new

style that

Gauguin

envisioned in such erudite phrases as '"the idea of things outside those things."' this high-flown talk,

painted as a

profile of

is

Though Gauguin

the form reveled in

he was better with paint than with

words, and he worked (left),

was

especially fond of Emile

like a

gift to his

Bernard on a

flat

man

possessed. In a self-portrait

friend

Van Gogh, he

inset a

background studded with posies

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; symbols of innocence. An inscription that Gauguin wrote on the work,

les

miserables, refers not onlv to the

proverbial poverty of artists, but to their in a lifelong quest for perfection.

Q'j.M v>^v

n

"synthesizing" an essential realityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the likenesses are abstracted but brilliantly characteristic of the are subtly

combined with symbolic

portrait study â&#x20AC;˘

r

*i

Paul Gauguin: Self-Portrait

(

Les Miserables), 1888

common bondage

Here Gauguin was

men and thev

ideas. Similarlv. the

above of the dwarfed painter Mever de Haan

includes such overt symbols as the lamp of truth, books of poetry and philosophy, and the apples of Eden.

83


Paul Gauguin: TheGate,

HI

IW


Paul Gauguin: Braiany Landscape with Swineherd, 1888

B

'rittany's harsh, spare landscape

perfect place for

wooden shoes

Gauguin

ring

on

turned out to be the

to find himself. "\&

this granite,"

the muffled, dull, powerful tone

I

hen

my

he wrote, "I hear

seek in

my

painting."

theories his

more vocal

friends talked out. he tried to

"synthesize" the simple forms of Brittany's small, boulder-strewn farms with the idea of drearv

Convinced

that every artist has a

toil.

moral responsibilitv

to

gradually dropped the lyric realism of his Impressionist

— that he must work hard because he has been gifted — Gauguin also a warm sympathy

mentors. In Brittany Landscape with Swineherd (above),

for these other "miserables." the Breton peasants

the beginnings of this break with his previous style can

tilled a

be read clearly from

to express this identification with the

During several sojourns there from 1888

left to right

:

to 1890,

he

at left, particularly in

his

God-given talent

felt

rocky

soil.

In The Gate

(

left

j,

who

he may have sought poor farmers

in a

the bright flowering shrubs, he used exactly the kind of

personal symbolism. Gauguin was forever coming and

brushwork Camille Pissarro had taught him. But the

going

bold, right

flat

planes of the rounded hills fading away to the

— suggestive of Japanese — show his newly

emerging

art

style. Struggling for a

graphic expression of the

— from Paris and Brittanv. to Aries, to Tahiti —and

the roughhewn gate

may have

represented to him. as

it

might for an ambitious Breton peasant, both the closing of an old

way and the opening of a new road

to

freedom.

85


Paul Gauguin:

G

'auguin was fascinated by the Breton

plain dark dresses

and

and aprons seemed

stiffly

women. Their

starched white collars, caps

to fall into picturesque patterns

it

was their simple, almost archaic piety that

inspired him. In

some of

he combined them

themes

<>l

his finest

in typical local

women

the) have just

dressed

shows

in their

Sunday

come from church

and the) are transfixed

the righl

a cluster of prayerful best. Evidently

their priest stands at b) a

\

ision

from the

The dominant

or

it

may symbolize

Symbol and )

ellow Christ

(

the

field

righl

>.

women

wears a sackcloth apron is it

understood the power

86

ol Buperstition

and imagination

a peak

workaday clothes

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one

itself?

Gauguin's moving

women's devotion makes the symbolic

moment. The culmination of

Gauguin

in

-kneel by an outdoor crucifix;

perhaps the Crucifixion

portrayal of the

The

which Gauguin reached

in

of expression. Peasant

or

of spiritual battle.

reality also blend beautifully in

scene seem as real as

colors, the picture reveals hot* Iceenl)

realistically represent

the daybreak in which Jacob recognized his heavenly foe,

sermon. Painted

boldl) outlined, contrasting

resiling with the

red tonalityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; powerful in itself

around the distant vision may

Old Testament, perhaps the subjeel of the morning in flat,

II

both for their pictorial impact and for their symbolic overtones.

scenes with the great

religious drama. In a picture of Jacob wrestling

the angel (above), Gauguin

Breton

works of the period

Sermon (Jacob

over the Breton peasants' minds. And he chose his colors

whatever they were doing. But more than their appearance

ision after the

/

if it

this picture foreshadow-.,

were happening

both

in

very

at that

his experience in

Brittam

technique and

I

heme.

the greal South Sea Island works that would follow.

.

Ingel ). 1888


Paul Gauguin: The Yellow

Christ,

1889


88


V The Southern Sun of Aries

The small

Rhone River about 55

city of Aries stands beside the

land from the Mediterranean. Aries

very old

is

Constantine sojourned there, and maintained

communication

ters of

many

ancient works in stone:

and beside them are

flat,

set in the

one of the key cen-

as

it

miles in-

Caesar and

Empire. Roundabout there are

monuments, tombs,

theaters, aquedui

t~:

medieval times when Aries was the capital

relics of

of a kingdom. Scattered

hewn,

Roman

in the

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Julius

among them

without inscription,

little

pavement of the winding

other stones only recently

lie

more than

streets.

a square foot in size,

They mark the

Vincent made his paintings, and were placed

1962

in

spots where

in celebration of a

"Van Gogh Year." Difficult to locate, polished by the tread of passwho scarcely notice them, they will last as long as any Roman stones, commemorating a man who did not seek to seize or hold a king-

ersby

dom

but to give one away.

Another

might have been intrigued by the antiquities of Aries,

artist

He was

but Vincent had no desire to paint them. time; even

when

his

ture, not the past.

soon after he had I

am

mind ranged

"There

left

far afield

it

a

man

of his

own

journeyed into the

fu-

Theo the south of France, "which

a Gothic portico here," he wrote to

is

Paris for this

town

in

beginning to think admirable, the porch of

St.

Trophime. But

is

it

so cruel, so monstrous, like a Chinese nightmare, that even this beautiful

Van Gogh's

palette, already

example of so grand a

world, and

am

I

as glad that

lightened bv his stay in Paris,

magnificent as

blooms with the beauty of a southern spring a few Aries.

months

The

this study

in a

painting done

after his arrival in

artist

was

when he

at

work on Dutch

painter Anton Mauve. Vincent

immediately dedicated the painting

Mauve's memory.

Peach

I rees in

was the

soming

it

light

fruit

was, of the

seems

to

me

do not belong to

it

to

belong to another

as to that other world,

Roman Nero."

and color of Aries that o\ erwhelmed

trees,

\ incent.

the blos-

the oleanders, the violet earth, the olives and

cvpresses. In his letters the

word "Japan."" which

to

him was almost

a

received word

of the death of a cousin, the

to

It

style

I

Blossom

" Souvenir de Mauve," April 1888

synonym for color, sounds over and over like an incantation. He wrote of "a meadow full of verv yellow buttercups, a ditch with irises, green leaves and purple flowers, the town in the background, some grav willows, and a strip of blue sky. ...

A

little

town surrounded bv fields all cant von see it?

covered with yellow and purple flowers: exactlv like a

Japanese dream." Although the distance from Paris

to Aries

is

89


only about 450 miles, he had indeed traveled to a far country, and

was here that sun with

its

became conyinced

'"high, yellow note." he

it

Enchanted and driven bv the

his art reached its zenith.

new man-

that a

ner of painting was to be born in southern France, and that "the painter of the future w

ill

be a colorist such as has never existed."

There have been many analyses of Aries his

\ incent's explosion of color in

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; both of his methods and his intent â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but the most interesting

own. He did not expect

man

knowledgeable a

as

is

immediately understood. even bv so

to be

Theo, and thus

many

his letters are filled with

scattered, fragmentary explanations. In his portraits, for example, he

had begun to depart radically from conventional colorism even before

coming

should

'"I

was

to Aries. In part, this

his reason:

like to paint the portrait of

dreams great dreams, who works nature. Hell be a blond man.

want

I

an

man who

artist friend, a

as a nightingale sings, because

have for him. into the picture. So

I

to put

paint

my

him

it

is

his

appreciation, the love

he

as

is.

as faithfully as

I I

can. to begin with.

"But the picture

not yet finished.

is

the arbitrary colorist. to

I

To

finish

it

I

am now

going to be

exaggerate the fairness of the hair.

I

even

get

orange tones, chromes and pale citron-yellow.

"Behind the head, instead of painting the ordinary wall of the mean background of the

most intense

room.

I

blue

can contrive, and by this simple combination of the bright head

I

paint infinity, a plain

against the rich blue background

I

get a

richest,

mysterious

effect, like a star in

the depths of an azure skv."

Referring to his just-completed portrait of a peasant. tinued: "Again in the portrait of the peasant

\

incent con-

this

way, but in

without wishing to produce the mysterious brightness of a

this case

pale star in the infinite. Instead.

mented

worked

I

I

imagine the

man

I

have to paint,

tor-

the furnace heat at the height of harvest time, as surrounded

in

by the whole Midi. Hence the orange colors flashing like lightning. vivid as a red-hot iron,

shadows. Oh.

my

and hence the luminous tones of old gold

dear bov

.

.

and the good people

.

will

in

the

only see the ex-

aggeration as caricature."

I

I

still

only

was nut onl) lifes

in a

rential.

Between

paintings,

\rle- blaze with

his arrival in

Old Peasant,

The volume

February and

The

Nor was

it

tor-

his hospitalization after (

Sunflovoers,

The Zouave, Slurry

of

lii-

freight in Paris in

\iÂŤlit

on the Rhone.

trlesienne.

outpul became almost an embarrassment.

obliged to justif) himself tO Theo.

from men

as well.

December he made at least )0 drawings and 100 among them main that are now world-famous: The Drawin

Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes- Maries. The

fell

it

handful of pictures. In the year 1888 his production was

his mental collapse

bridge,

portraiture that Vincent's color burst forth.

in

and the landscapes of

who

and apparentl) sent back remarks

the profession.

\

\

incent

received the painting- bj critical ol In-

-peed

incent defended himsell b) referring to

who had recentl) produced 10 canvases in dependmonths: "Quick work doesn't mean less senou- work,

the speed of Claude Monet,

lour

on our'- self-confidence and experience.

90

it

In

the

same wa) Jules Gue-


book that

rard, the lion hunter, says in his

have a

in

young

the beginning

of trouble killing a horse or an ox. but that old lions

lot

paw or

a single blow of the

lions

with

kill

and that they are amaz-

a well-placed bite,

ingly sure at the job.""

he spoke of the natural

In a following letter

warn you

"I must

ity.

you believe

word of

a

Is

it.

and ebb of creativ-

flow

think

will

I

work too

Don't

fast.

not emotion, the sincerity of one's feeling

it

And

for nature, that drives us?

if

the emotions are sometimes so strong

one works without knowing one works, when sometimes the strokes

that

come with ter,

everyone

that

and

a continuity

a

coherence

then one must remember that

time to come there

must

it

like

words

speech or

in a

a let-

has not always been so, and that

in

be hard days, emptv of inspiration. So one

will

strike while the iron

hot.

is

and put the forged bars on one side."

JLhe quantity and qualitv of Vincent's work are remarkable enough, but appear even

more impressive

worked. In one of his

first

been for several walks

in

in

letters

view of the conditions

the country hereabouts but

possible to do anything in this wind.

The sky

which has melted almost

bright sun

cold and dry that

which he

quite im-

is

it

a hard blue with a great

is

the snow, but the wind

all

gives you goose flesh." This was his

it

in

from Aries he reported that "I have

first

is

so

encounter

with the mistral, the violent and sometimes terrible wind that blows

south

down

not this

ies

"W

hat a picture

damned wind. That

where you

Rhone

the valley of the

wrote of the vallev.

up your

set

is

the

And

easel.

to the I

Mediterranean. Later he

would make of

maddening thing

that

is

largely

why

are not so finished as the drawings; the canvas

time."

He drove

do

the painted stud-

shaking

is

all

the

if

came

flat

on the earth and

to think of the

wind as an

and spoke sadly of what he might have

that had defeated him. to

canvas

to lay his

paint on his knees. In the end he

been able

there was

pegs into the ground and tied the legs of his easel to

them: sometimes he was forced

enemy

if

it.

here, no matter

the mistral had permitted

it.

His health was as precarious as ever. In a state of near-collapse when

he came to Aries, he recovered

soon began

briefly but

to

cidal pace, describing himself as "a painting engine."

work

at a sui-

Haunted by

his

debt to Theo. he wrote: "Today again from seven o'clock in the morning

till

six in the

evening

I

worked without

food a step or two awav. ...

stirring except to take

have no thought of fatigue.

I

other picture this verv night, and

I

shall bring

week period he subsisted on only bread, milk and that "I even

work

midday,

at

the cornfields, and enjoy that he realized

how

it

in full sunlight,

all like

it

off.""

I

shall

some

do an-

For one three-

a few eggs, vet reported

with no shade

at all. in

a cicada." Occasionally he indicated

close he was to collapse, but

made no complaint. who

In fact he began, with unconscious irony, to give advice to Theo.

had recently been sleep,

and as

ill:

"Go

to

bed rcrv carl v. because you must have

for food, plenty of fresh vegetables,

bad alcohol. And very

women, and

and no bad wine or

ofpatience." The people of Aries, although he wrote warmly of them, did not little

of

lots

ciprocate his affection. His appearance and habits alarmed them.

he arrived

in

town he walked from the

\^

re-

hen

railroad station to a small hotel

91


nearbv. and was admitted somewhat grudgingly by the innkeeper. Soon there were quarrels

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

was charged that Vincent, with

it

all

his equip-

ment, took up more space than the other guests and should pay extra. (L ltimately

lease of

he was obliged to go to a justice of the peace to obtain the

some of

which the innkeeper had

his belongings,

seized.)

re-

When

he went abroad to work, "always very dusty, always more bristlinglv loaded, like a porcupine, with maulsticks, painter's easel, canvases and

further merchandise," he was not viewed as an adornment to the town.

was worse, he seemed obsessed with painting the

\^ hat

be seen working

hatband stuck

B '

at

night

candles for illumination.

full of lighted

was tolerated

ut \ incent

and could

stars,

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; when the mistral was not blowing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with his

at first,

and managed

persuade several

to

of the Arlesien townspeople and peasants to pose for him. although he

found that they were disappointed when they saw "nothing but paint

Among

on the canvas."

those

from him, only one, the

came

his close friend.

who were

willing to accept immortality

postman, Joseph Roulin (page 106), be-

local

Roulin not only posed

six

times himself but

of-

young sons and

fered his family as sitters as well: his wife, his two

a

newborn daughter. \

incent also struck up an acquaintance with a colorfullv uniformed

lieutenant of Zouaves, P. Milliet, ing fought in Indochina.

known;

ly

less so is

The

who was on

leave in Aries after hav-

portrait of Milliet (page

107 )

what the painter and model had

other. Lieutenant Milliet took

is

some drawing lessons from

one who has lived a long time

each

and

\ incent.

was "a strange fellow, impulsive

later recalled that the artist

very wide-

to say of

like

some-

sun of the desert. ... A charming

in the

companion when he knew what he wanted, which did not happen every day. \& e would frequently take beautiful walks through the countryside

around Aries and out there both of us made

a great

manv

sketches.

Some-

And

times he put his easel up and began to smear away with paints.

was no good. This fellow who had a great

that, well, that

ent for drawing

He .

.

became abnormal

painted too broadly, paid no .

\

He

soon as he touched a brush.

attention to details, did not

.

.

first.

replaced drawing by colors."

made an

unreliable model.

myself, which, however,

some

studies of him, for he

concerned

in bis

ture of a lover.

\rles,

now

ject to

it.

poses badlv. or

is

I

am

I

may be

hut

I

a good-looking boy, very easy-going and un-

behavior, and would suit

me damned

... He hardly has anv time all

well lor the pic-

In spare,

the w hores and tarts

regret that he has a

nervous motion

fellow, hut he isonl) twenty-five,

Milliet's objection to V incent's

reasonable one lor

a

layman

at fault

sorely in want of

seeing that he

in the tart

that he has to return to his garrison, as he savs.

He is a good

Milliet that

"He

do not believe, as

I

must take a tender leave of

to

technique as

have made

m

ol

I

the legs

God damn

a painter

1888.

-shop-

ol

do not ob-

when

pos-

1

it.

was not an un-

No doubt

it

shocked

Vincent had ceased to bother with making preliminarv char-

coal sketches

on

his canvases, but

worked directly

with his brushes, applying his paint in >tmkc- that

<)2

draw

tal.

incent complained wistfully that the lieutenant was so lecherous

that he

ing.

as

and

taste

in color.

He drew

formed

his con-


tours, and had

no need of underdraw

ings. In his

eagerness "to exaggerate

the essential, and purposely leave the obvious things vague." he worked

with dazzling haste and remarked that he had "no system at the canvas with irregular touches of the hrush, which

Patches of

are.

t

here and there with portions that are

grasp what

are

.

.

\\

.

bounded by contours

later

soil will

have a blue

will

To many

"fill in

I

fill

all

in

the time,

I

mean

try

I

the spaces that

either expressed or not, but in any case

with tones that are also simplified, by which

going to be

leave as they

I

ahsolutelv unfinished, repe-

left

orking directly on the spot

essential in the drawing

is

hit

I

hick) v laid-on color, spots of canvas left uncovered,

titions, savageries. to

all.

that

all

felt

that

is

share the same violet-like tone, that the whole >kv

tint.''

the spaces."* the great

planes of color that appear in so

flat

of his paintings. \ incent used brushwork that

amounts

to a per-

sonal signature: broad strokes interwoven in a lattice pattern, or in suc-

"no

cessive "halos" around a head, a lamp or the sun. Far from having

system

he developed

at all.

a style so distinctive that

even

a

layman

can recognize his unsigned canvases almost as readily as those bearing his

name.

A,

-gain

and again

In writing of

his letters

from Aries return

tried to express the terrible passions of

The room

green. in

is

humanity by means of red and

blood red and dark yellow with a green billiard table

the middle; there are four citron-yellow lamps with a glow of orange

and green. Everywhere there

is

a clash

and a contrast of the most

parate reds and greens in the figures of the

the empty, dreary room. ... cafe

is

a place

it.

is

affectionate in

He

dictment.

1

have tried

little

its

all

to express the idea that the

admonition or warning, not an

W

e are in

in-

repeatedly spoke of his purpose in using strong color,

"to give hope to poor creatures.""

tually one's

a crime.'"

the sense of horror that \ incent set forth

intent: an

which was the same one that had long ago inspired him istry

dis-

sleeping hooligans, in

where one can ruin oneself, go mad or commit

Yet The \ight Cafe, for in

to the subject of color.

The Night Cafe (pages 114-115), he noted that "I have

was

It

min-

to enter the

his belief that "it

is

ac-

duty to paint the rich and magnificent aspects of nature.

need of gaiety and happiness, of hope and love. The more

ugly, old, yicious,

producing a

ill.

poor

I

get, the

more

I

want

to take

my

brilliant color, well-arranged, resplendent.''

wanting "to say something comforting, as music his longing to

"express hope by some

sunset radiance his portrait of

.

.

.

isn't

Madame

it

star, the

is

revenge bv

He spoke

of

comforting." and ot

eagerness of a soul bv a

something that actually exists?" In making

Roulin. the postman's wife, he portrayed her

holding the handle of an unseen cradle, for he imagined the painting

hung

in the

cabin of a fishing boat, to comfort storm-tossed sailors with

reminders of their childhood. The thought was cent was a naive and extremely vulnerable

a naive

shattered by anyone with the wit and the cruelty to do

When

one

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but

\ in-

man who could have been it.

he had been in Aries a few months he moved from his hotel

to

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

al-

a small

house nearby that he was able

though

it

to rent for 15 francs a

month

had two stories the house contained only four rooms, and the

93


T-

He was very proud

lavatory was next door.

here

is

ingly green shutters;

it

stands in the

"My

house

sunlight in a square which has

full

a green garden with plane trees, oleanders pletely it

of the place:

painted the yellow color of fresh butter on the outside with glar-

whitewashed

there

is

inside,

and the

floor

and acacias. And

it

made

And over

is

of red

can

a

home and

live

is

com-

and breathe, med-

I

the intensely blue skv. In this

tiles.

and paint."

itate

"The cent.

more than

yellow house" was far

Its

very color, his favorite above

soon began

to see

it

as "the

house of

a studio for \ in-

others, was svmbolic.

all

light." a place

He

where the new

"school of the South" might be founded. Reviving his earlier hopes of an

artists'

commune, he imagined

come

that other artists might

to live

with him. and that thev might share their expenses and profits.

He

thought of Paul Gauguin, of Georges Seurat and Emile Bernard, one of

who had betriended him in Paris. '"\l\ dear com"more and more it seems to me that the pic-

the young painters

rade Bernard." he wrote,

tures which must be made, so that painting should be wholly

and

itseli.

should be raised to a height equivalent to the serene summits which the Greek sculptors, the els reached, arc will

probabl)

idea held in

he created In

nol

i-

a

groups of men combining

to

execute an

ol colors hut lack idea-.

superb orchestration

An-

cram-ful] of new concepts, tragicall) -ad or charming, hut does

know how

to

express them. ...

lack ol a corporative spirit

among

ar

Ml the more reason t

i

>

t

>

.

each other, fortunatel) without succeeding In leiier alter letter

creasing!)

94

the writers of French nov-

isolated individual: so the)

common.

"One ma) have other

German musicians,

beyond the powers of an

the hopes

\

incent

expounded

who in

criticize

to regret the

and persecute

annihilating each other.

his

hopes

i"

became centered on Paul Gauguin.

rheo, and \i

thai

in-

time


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

Van Gogh's home

seen in his

Vrles

in

watercolor painting on the opposite page and the photograph at left- via* a modest two-

in -

1

<

>

r

\

structure that housed a grocery store in

addition to \ incent's small apartment. a few \

I

sing

hundred francs Theo had sent him.

make the

incent Âťa> able to

place habitable

within a few month- after he arrived in 1888.

He S)

called

mbolic

house"

it

his "yellow

in

Japanese culture of

a

name

a '"house of

because he had high hopes for

friendship"

the impending arrival of his friend (.auguin.

Sometime around

into a bar.

bombed

Gauguin was painting arrange a

it

so that

in Brittany,

ill

his

to Aries,

and wrote that "as there

painters living together.

think

it

is

for extra

to \ incent to

to

will alter

1

several

need an abbot to keep order,

shall

he can cook very well."

a kitchen range

was also important

It

I

am ashamed

much

of

it.

but

I

on Gauguin with

am vain enough to want to my work, so cannot help I

as possible alone before he

comes. His coming

my manner of painting and shall gain by it. I am rather keen on my decorations, which I

believe, but

I

all

are almost like

French painted porcelain." He covered the walls of Gauguin's bedroom with magnificent pictures of gardens.

And he

own room

filled his

w

ith

dazzling sunflower paintings, having gone hungry so that he could buv

frames for them.

Yet when the idea was proposed to Gauguin, he delayed. He was. he claimed, too sick and too deeply in debt to

ever awed he

may have been by "my

there was a vein of craftiness in stinctively that [he]

is

a

make

the trip. \ incent. how-

friend Gauguin." sensed that

him and

told

Theo

schemer who. seeing himself

that "I feel inat

the bottom of

the social ladder, wants to regain a position by means which will certainlv be honest, but at the tle

that

I

am

same time, very

able to take all this into

wrote Gauguin a self-abasing letter ceptions extremely ordinarv

politic.

Gauguin knows

lit-

account." However, ho soon

*T always think

when compared

my

to yours.

1

artistic

s

death v\

a-

con-

have alwa\s

o:,

in

1890. the

converted

remained until 1.

his society of

now be

will

buv beds, chests, sheets and

sailor;

a certain impression

wanting to do as the same

it

decorate the house with the finest paintings he could pro-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "Well, yes,

make

\'>

proceeded to furnish his yellow house, imploring

money

"Gauguin has been a duce

we

in

going to be Gauguin."

\ incent eagerly

Theo

I

which

out

perhaps by giving him

enthusiasm Vincent saw

artists already established,

and naturally

Gogh

and impoverished. Could not Theo

Gauguin could come

monthly allowance too? In

after \ an

floor of the building

it

ua-


had the coarse inclinations

now on, von begin to

turn into

man)

refuge lor

a

of a beast.

.

.

.

head

to feel like the .

.

.

1

1

i

j

t

think that

I

]

which we

of a studio,

[we can

if.

with

lull ol eoura<.'e

l>c|

from

shall try re-

gard to the success ol our enterprise, and \ou musl go on considering

your home,

this

October

I n

He

lers.

lor

am

I

much

very

inclined lo believe that

Theo boughl 300

\ttilH.

Gauguin

also agreed to pay

Irancs" worth of Gauguin's pol-

monthly stipend

a

month Gauguin

ture paintings, and later that

was apprehensive, fearful thai his

house and

little

wail.

.

.

make

1

1

.

by

lit

ware

for the ol

wrote

lime

him

my nerves." For that *'\rles

is

be dis-

a mistral, hut

thai the poetry ol this place grips

house

as

comlorlable as we shall

lr\

a

Theo before Gauguin's

man who wished

arrival,

to '"express

to

\

incenl

filthiest

lie-

hope hv SO me

man who would

be confronted by another

lo

the

is

to

Aries of "madness." adding that "I must

in

and who was about

star," tell

first

"Maybe you will

lime when there

a

preparations

Ins

There are so main expenses!"

lie.

In the lasl letter he

spoke

at

some lime

vel find the

will not

little

von arrive

il

onl) alter

is

Il

.

You

one.

Aries,

in

return lor fu-

in

oul lor \rle-. \ incenl

sel

might seem inadequate to so sophisticated a man. appointed

will last

it

handshake."

long. A cordial

place in the Midi." that was some-

thing ol an understatement

Gauguin had nothing self ;

it

ings as he and

everything

never contain

Gauguin

\

was preparing.

incenls beloved \ellow house

shocked me. His color-box could

those tubes, crowded together and never closed.

all

verj earl) saw "that our ol

common

finances were taking on

disorder," and undertook to

up

set

lowing for food, rent, tobacco and "hygienic excursions"

remarked

night, lb' also

at

"b\

it-

everywhere and

In the first place,

a disorder that

found

I

he same appearance

I

about

the one a perlecl volcano, the other boiling inwardly

I.

too, a sort ol struggle 111

to say

was the general untidiness thai struck bun. "Ret ween Iw o such be-

that their

a clerk; certainl)

budget,

al-

brothels

to the

modest treasurv was replenished

Ins brother, a clerk at Goupil's."

have called Theo

a

is

Il

surprising that he should

Gauguin musl have known

better.

Mistakes of that sort Haw his account. \ud there are larger errors. Gauguin

reported

"floundering. plementaries

when

thai .

.

with

he

all his

arrived

\rles

in

yellows and violets,

adisorderly work on his part

lacking.

an

\

thai

I

undertook the task

ol

\

incenl

work with com-

all this

he onl) achieved

complete and monotonous harmonies; the sound

eas)

lound

he

soft, in-

the trumpet was

ol

explaining things to him, which was

from thai da) fruitful ground. become to aware of all made he seemed Gogh astonishing progress; was in bun. and h (Mice came all ol the series o siinllow eis alter sunlor

me. lor

I

lound

a rich

and

.

.

.

I

I

flowers in brilliant sunshine." The sunflowers, ol course, were alread)

framed on the wall when Gauguin turned up.

However, the two

artists

weeks; indeed the) never their association was

b\

no means estranged during the

their regard lor each other,

melodramal

icallv

severed alter

\

incent

lirsl

even alter S

collapse.

I

hev painted together (although the) did not choose the same motifs)

in

%

were lost

a

vineyard,

in

the publii

garden and

in

the

Myscamps

(Elysian


Fields),

Roman tombs. Gauguin

an avenue of

hope of founding a "school of the South'" to the tropics in a year

chanted Vincent. "I

did not share \ incent's

— he

talked instead of going

— nor did he admire the surroundings that so en-

find

everything small, paltry, the landscape and

the people." he wrote. But from Vincent's side, at least, matters seemed to be

going well. As he told Theo,

"He

is

a very great artist and a very ex-

cellent friend.'"

In the evenings they discussed art theory, in which Vincent was

more than rectlv

life,

memory

his instinct

am

awkward, and have

ture." As

to

work

di-

going to set myself to work from

often." he told Theo. "as the canvases from

less

was

he allowed himself to be persuaded by Gauguin that "ab-

were superior. "I

stractions""

ways

Although

willing to take lessons.

from

a

more

artistic look

memory

are

al-

than studies from na-

developed. \ incent was unable to do this, and afterward

it

confessed that abstraction was "an enchanted territory, old man, and

one quickly

finds oneself

up against

a wall."

Their conversations about portraiture also came to a dead end guin and

I

— "Gau-

talked about this and other analogous questions until our

nerves were so strained there wasn't a spark of vital warmth us." Earlier, Vincent had written of their discussions: are terriblv

electric,

left

in

"Our arguments

sometimes we come out of them with our heads

as ex-

hausted as a used electric batterv.""

Bv earlv December the tension between the two men had become tolerable. All his

Gauguin wished

to leave Aries;

Vincent was well aware of

hopes for the "school of the South" doubtless seemed

and he began

to

behave strangely

— although there

is

init.

in ruins

only one firsthand

account of his actions: Gauguin's. And that account must be assessed by the reader

where

in

in the light of

the inaccuracies that have been found else-

Gauguin's recollection.

According

to

Gauguin, "During the

latter

days of

my

stay,

Vincent

Gauguin's portrait of

\

an Gogh, done

m

Aries

1888. shows the painter concentrating at

in

his easel.

During that time

\

an Gogh

\\a-

working on a series of portraits of the people of \rles, but

somehow he ne\er attempted

to

paint one of his housemate. Gauguin. Perhaps

he

felt

intimidated

l>\

the older man. or

perhaps Gauguin simply lacked the patience to

>it

lor him. In an\ case, \ an

a "portrait" of his

Gogh

did paint

Gauguin's chair (page III)

"empty place"

a> \

an Gosh called

97

it.


would become excessively rough and noisy, and then nights

surprised

I

To what can

bed.

"At

I

events,

all

him

"The the

me, Tt

to

certainly

is

my

I,

but

it's I

mv

head.

let-

me. painting some

much more animated,

Suddenly he flung the

was

I

we went glass

but

it

was

real-

then.'*)

and

avoided the blow and. taking him bodilv

I

out of the cafe across the Place \

fin-

portrait that he did of

face got

In Gauguin's account, "That very evening a light absinthe.

was

gone mad.' " (In a

portrait

used somewhat different

\ incent

later.

hen the

\^

me, very tired and charged with electricitv as

took

bed with-

to

do his portrait while he was painting

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; some flowers.

"Have you seen the

sunflowers? Afterward ly

me much

he loved so

Theo written months

language:

back

to go

into a heavy sleep.

fall

ished, he said to ter to

my

to

was enough

it

idea occurred to

still-life

several

my awakening just at that moment? for me to say to him, quite sternly.

attribute

hats the matter with you, Vincent?' for him

"'vS

out a word and

On

silent.

up and coming over

in the act of getting

in

to the cafe. its

contents

my

arms, went

Hugo. Not many minutes

\ ictor

He at

later

incent found himself in bed where, in a few seconds, he was asleep,

not to awaken again

"W

till

morning.

hen he awoke, he

me

said to

have a vague memory that

very calmh

offended you

I

scene might occur again, and

if

I

self

and give you a choking. So permit me

tell

him

"My

that

God. what a

to

to write to

vour brother and

Theo. saying that he could not continue living

back, referring to the

it

davs the two remained

eral

heart, but yesterdays

might lose control of my-

"because of incompatibilitv of temper.'" But

he took

letter

I

dav!"'

Uuguin did write \ incent

I

am coming back."

I

a with

my

all

were struck

"Mv dear Gauguin.

evening.'

last

"Answer: T forgive you gladly and with

.

in the

first

in a

vellow house.

On December

cent sent a note to his brother: "I think Gauguin was a

good town of Aries, the

sorts with the

following

as ""a bad dream.*" For sev-

little

work, and especiallv with me. As a matter of

23rd

\ in-

out of

little

vellow house where we

fact,

bound

there are

to

be

grave difficulties to overcome here too, for him as well as for me. Hut these difficulties are

more within ourselves than

lor

him

It

make

to

Mtogether

outside.

think that he will definitely go, or else definitel) stay. ...

I

am

1

waiting

a decision with absolute serenity.

not eas) to visualize Vincenl as serene in such circumstances.

is

Gauguin

certainlx

was not. hater he wrote

to a friend: "*K\er since the

question arose of m\ leaving \rles he had been so queer thai

1

hardl) 1

breathed any more. Me even said to me: 'You are going to leave, and

when

I

-aid ">es." he tore a sentence

m\ hand:

'

/

lie

murderer has

from

I

must go

<>wl

I

<)K

'"I

had bolted m\ dinner,

I

1

heard behind

me

I

a

had almost crossed the Place

well-known

turned about on the instant as in his

into

it

alone and take the air along some path- that wort bor-

dered h\ dowering laurel.

when

newspaper and put

/led.

On Christmas Eve, according to Gauguin, fell

a

hand. \l\ look

at

that

\

\ ictor

Hugo

step, short, quick, irregular.

I

incent rushed toward me. an open razor

moment must have had

ureal

power

in

it.


"

:

running towards home.

for he stopped and. lowering his head, set off

"W

as

calm him?

tried to

but

negligent on this oceasion? Should

I

will fling the

"W

stone

I

to

conscience about

this,

reproach myself with. Let him

who

me.

at

one bound

ith

quired the time.

my

have often questioned

I

have never found anything

I

have disarmed him and

I

was

I

in a

engaged

good Arlesien hotel, where, alter

room and went

a

had

I

in-

bed."

to

After this encounter, which occurred a day earlier than Gauguin

Vincent returned

called.

with the razor.

would seem

It

yellow house and slashed his

to the

importance whether he cut

to be of small

off the entire ear or

onlv the lobe, but the

ars argue about

producing such studies as

drame de

it.

coupee"

Voreille

in

re-

ear

left

affair

so bizarre that schol-

is

*'/

incent ran

Gogh

el

l<>

the French medical journal iesculape. Ac-

who was

cording to Theo van Gogh's widow,

surely in a position to

know, only the lobe was removed.

w,

hen Vincent had stopped the

flow of blood, he put

beret and carried the severed portion of his ear

wrapped

in

on a large

newspaper

nearby brothel that he and Gauguin had frequented. According to

to a

news item

a brief

the Aries paper of the time, "Last Sunday night at

in

half past eleven a painter

named Vincent van Gogh,

land, appeared at the maison de tolerance No. chel,

a native of Hol-

asked for a

1,

Then he disappeared. The

treasure."

Ra-

girl called

and handed her his ear with these words: 'Keep this object

like a

informed of these events,

police,

which could only be the work of an unfortunate madman, looked the

whom

next morning for this individual,

they found in bed with scarce-

ly a sign of life.""

The

of the ear lobe had caused an uproar in the streets, but Gau-

gift

guin had slept through

it.

The next morning,

as he recalled

it.

he went

to the yellow

house and was accosted by a policeman who "said to me

abruptlv and

in a

done

to

"

T

"

*0h, yes

"I

tone that was more than severe,

don't know. .

.

my

.

hat have

you

.

you know very

well.

shame

at all

Monsieur,

let

lifeless.

Gently, very gently,

which showed that got back

all

"Then

my

in a

it

was

energv.

low voice

alive.

still

my

all I

him

tell

fatal to

him."

Gauguin

left

that

I

it

a long

I

answered stammeringly

in the sheets, all in a ball;

I

he

touched the bodv. the heat of

me

For

it

was

as

if

I

had sudden

l\

said to the police superintendent: 'Be kind

have

left

man

with great care, and

for Paris.

The

sight of

me

if

he asks

might prove

the yellow house. Vincent was taken to the hospital.

seemed doubtful that he would townsfolk

me

heart. An-

spirit.

enough, Monsieur, to awaken this

forme,

my

We can explain ourselves there."

us go upstairs.

"In the bed lay Vincent, rolled up

seemed

took

these glances that were tear-

person to pieces, suffocated me, and

'All right.

it

wits together and control the beating of

ger, indignation, grief, as well as

my

V\

.' .

He is dead.' could never wish anyone such a moment, and

time to get

ing

*

your comrade, Monsieur?'

live,

and

in the

It

opinion of most of the

scarcelv mattered.

09


J- he brilliant light of

Gogh's in this

Theo in

life

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and â&#x20AC;&#x201D; art

sun here are

in

southern France flooded into Van at Aries.

"Those who don't believe

real infidels,"

he wrote his brother

August 1888. He had arrived

in Aries

from Paris

A

Sunburst

of Painting

February, just before the almond trees burst into bloom

and spring flowers began to blossom. After the grays of his native Holland and the

muted

was stunned with pleasure countryside.

The

fields

at

colors of Paris,

Van Gogh

the sight of the colorful

were alive with the green of

growing crops, the azure skies were deep and wide, and the magnificent sun caused the land to glow and vibrate with rich

and subtle hues.

Van Gogh wrote

his friend the painter

Emile Bernard,

"In the south, one's senses get keener, one's hand

becomes more clearer."

month

agile,

one's eye

He was understating

stay at Aries,

more

alert,

one's brain

the case. During his 15-

Van Gogh worked

feverishly in one

of the most prolific and inspired bursts of artistic creativity ever recorded.

1889, he produced

drawings.

Many

masterpieces;

From February 1888

some 200

May

to

paintings, as well as scores of

of these canvases are undisputed

all reflect light,

color, energy. This

outpouring, however, exacted a monstrous

toll;

The

>iin

of \rles. which so

influenced the art of \ an Gogh,

immense

Van Gogh

dominates the count r) side detail

page).

I

singaheavil) loaded

had driven himself to a limit of emotional and physical

brush

exhaustion

Van Gogh

I

hat

left

him spent.

Aries established him as a giant

over he had only one year

100

I

lis

work under the sun

in art.

left to live.

but w hen

il

was

at

in this

from The Sower (following

that

lefl

each touch distinct,

filled

the sk) with

brilliant colors.

The Sower, June 1888, detail


,

!k

/


The Sower, June 1888

I

n Aries, Van Gogh pursued his stated belief that

"color expresses something end, he began to

in itself."

make an almost

To achieve

decorations for his rooms, and each radiates his passion

this

arbitrary use of color,

and simplicity. The Harvest (following

for light, color

pages)

is

also a comparatively tranquil painting, a subtle

and .-ought the exact harmonies that would "express the

blend of lush green and yellow

love of two lovers by a wedding of two complementary

shadows on the sides of the wagons, houses and

colors, their mingling

and their opposition, the

By contrast. The Sower (above)

mysterious vibrations of kindred tones."' He strove for these electric juxtapositions while painting scenes

One (right) \rle-.

o\

everyday

of the artist's best-known works. Sunflowers

conveys the warmth of color Vincent found

102

mam

oi

these sunflower studies as

at

field

pita the

by violet hillsides.

powerful violet

against the bright yellow- ol

standing wheat and a sun-filled sky. The sower himself

seems

the south.

He made

of a freshly plowed

fields offset

a bridge

between these strong colors:

his

body

the level of the

blends with the

field

while his eyes are

yellow horizon.

The

short, almost harsh, brush strokes

at

heighten the tensions created b\ the color-.


Sunflowers, AuEu-t 1888

103

m m


I lir

Han Of,

June 1H88

L04


The Postman Roulin, \ugusl 1888

106


Portrait

A

evv

Arlesiens would

sit

for portraits by

Van Gogh:

they distrusted the intense stranger from the north.

Some

did befriend him, however,

postman Joseph Roulin full is

(left).

A

among them

the

solid citizen, posed in

uniform, Roulin was an engaging man. This manner

transmitted by his expression; his eyebrows are raised

as

of Lieutenant

though he was constantly

Milliet.

startled, vet

September 1888

amused, by the

world around him. Another friend was Lieutenant Milliet (above

).

whom

\

simplicity. His regimental crest

is

set in

background, and his pale complexion pink ears and

lips,

P.

an Gogh painted with honest

which complement

is

the solid

heightened bv

his scarlet cap.

107


I {ill

mi mi

ill

Itles,

October IHHM â&#x20AC;˘

1

06

r


\ 1

*#**

\


The Chair and thePipe (also called Van Gogh's Chair), December 18HH-Janu;ir\ ltW>

I

n the SOUth,

Man)

nl his

\

an

(lofili

was

a

paintings, like the

desperateh lonel\ man. pit-ttiri*

of his

bedroom on

ol this

picture

is

meant

lii

110

sighl

relax tlie imiiil. or raider the

imagination." The painting

is

solitar) artist longingly paired ever) object:

two chair-. Even the pictures hang

the preceding pages, reflecl his yearning for

companionship. He wrote his brother Theo, "The

subtle signs ol his loneliness appear in the wa) the

indeed relaxing, ye\ the

The

arrival in \rle- of his friend

October IHH8 should have ended lint

\

in

two

pillows,

pan-.

Gauguin

late in

an Gogh's lonel)

<\^\

the Strong personalities ol the two artists clashed

b.


Gauguin's Chair. December 1888-Januar\ 1889

constantly, producing tensions and arguments that finally forced

Gauguin

to leave. Earlier, \ an

Gogh had

design with armrest> and curved legs.

The

upright,

lighted candle placed next to two books generates a

begun studies of the chairs the two men customarily used

robust, active aura. \ an Gogh's chair, bv comparis

(above), works that, completed after Gauguin's

bathed

departure, seem to be portraits of the

men

Gauguin's chair, seen by candlelight,

is

themselves.

a sophisticated

in sunlight, its

workmanship rough and simple.

Standing alone, with the

pouch on

its seat,

it

artist's unlit pipe

and tobacco

speaks eloquently of his desolation.

11


IB

*^l<

%

* tfct

:

,

;--i

e*r

Id '*"'

fcZ._^L

\ 1

^'1

*-

-


Cafe Terrace at Night, September 1888

v

"an Gogh worked throughout Tan

summer,

the broiling Aries

painting under the sun. Then, instead of resting, he often set

up

his easel outdoors at night

and painted

until

candles stuck in his hat to provide him with

enjoyed the hours after dark. "The night

is

dawn, using

light.

more

Van Gogh more

alive,

richly colored than the day," he once wrote. In several oils,

including Cafe Terrace at \ight (above, detail

left),

summer

the easy conviviality of the southern

he caught

evenings.

The

lantern of the cafe glows hospitably; townspeople sip drinks,

chat and stroll under the stars, which hang like lamps in the royal-blue sky.

But the night harbored demons, too. ones that the

artist

understood. In The Night Cafe (followingpages), he explored the terrors of the night's underworld in strident colors. "I

have tried to express the terrible passions of humanitv bv

means of red and green." he explained

in a letter to

Theo.

Indeed, the colors seem to mix like acids, combining to create lethal fumes.

Drunken patrons slump

at their tables:

overhead the lamps are circled by jagged halos. and the painting's perspective lures the viewer's eves toward a bright

yellow doorway

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a hint of other nighttime enticements. Van

Gogh himself knew brothels of Aries.

well the temptations of the bars

What he

could not

know was

and

that he

on the verge of a complete mental breakdown.

113

was


The

: \if;lii <ii/< .

September IHHH

111


116


VI Gauguin in Paradise

It is

often suggested that the cynical, sarcastir Paul Gauguin goaded

cent van

Gogh

to the breaking point in Aries. Certainly

cent no good, but

it

is

unfair to charge

Gauguin did

\ in-

him with malice. Gauguin was

so complete an egotist that he was seldom aware of the

damage he

his own problemmen came together

on those around him, too preoccupied with

flicted

much kindness

offer

\ in-

to others.

W hen

the two

share the yellow "house of light" in the south of France, a clash waevitable,

and

in

the nature of things

it

while Gauguin walked away unscathed. as a nasty personal inconvenience, to raise

money

The vague world;

more

it

is

He regarded

\

and soon was back

in-

incent's traiied\

hoping

in Paris

another voyage to the tropics.

for

outline of Gauguin's

life is

To

a society

smothering

to

known in the Western make humdrum existence

in

obligations Gauguin sym-

well

bolizes escape of the most delicious kind: to the gentle air of the

Seas, far

to

to

was Vincent who would suffer

one of the legends that help

bearable.

in-

South

beyond commuting and computing, where delicacies need only

be plucked from the trees and shared with precociou>

sirl- w ho. a-

Gau-

guin said, "invade one's bed." Moreover. Gauguin's myth permit- duty-

haunted desk-bound man It is

Gauguin was surprised

and fascinated by the charming, natural

way

in

painting he shows the

Madonna

and Child from a Tahitian point of iew

;

even the blue-and-vellow-

winged angel

at

the

haired Polynesian.

left is

The

of the

the opening phrase of the

Tahitian version of Ave

\t(irin.

Paul Gauguin: la Orana Marin (I

Hail Thee,

and

eat

it

too.

effortless

afternoons produce masterpieces that

are worth a fortune?

Gauguin's myth

is

public property.

Vlaiy),

1891

scarcely be permitted to change life in

ers

it.

If

he were now alive he would

Rather than hear him

sa)

that his

the South Seas had not always been idyllic, most pale office work-

would prefer

to throttle him.

Indeed Gauguin was made aware of

the importance of his myth, as opposed to the relative triviality ol in-

a black-

title

picture, written at the lower left, is

his cake, or breadfruit,

which the islanders

had adopted Christianity. In this

\

have

important to be successful, not merely a beachcomber, and did not

Gauguin on occasional In Tahiti

to

human

existence, during his lifetime.

W

hen he was prematurely

eased and desperate on the island of Hiva

wrote to one of his few friends

in

Oa

in

old. dis-

the Marquesas, he

France and expressed the wish

to

come home. The friend replied, in effect: lor heaven's sake, don't do it. You are already held in the esteem accorded to the famous dead: why spoil everything? Gauguin remained in Hiva Oa and died there.

117


man. He Shortly after his marriage. Gauguin, a Parisian

who was

Sunday

still

only

as

felt

has failed to understand other great men.

it

Gauguin produced

a few

one of

Taking up

this art.

orthodox portrait

his son below

.

Later he

may have understood him

that the world

form of a stoneware

self-portrait in the

who

suggesting an artist visions and voices.

mug

relied

on inner

still-life

him

did not occur to

It

even when

ooden barrel

in France.

—he

am

a great artist

and

he was

know

I

among

It is

it.

ar-

the

because

I

have endured such sufferings." Extremely vigorous and ver-

I

he worked

in oil.

He made mul-

watercolor, pastel, pencil and ink.

W hen

a furnace

in

paintings. His later

reflecting his life in the tropics,

that

— as

ticolored woodcuts as well as etchings and lithographs.

sculpture (opposite page) was usually exotic,

as in the case of the w

acknowledge: "I

to

first

satile,

Gauguin subsequently

incorporated this mug. sprouting flowers,

it

happv

rather well, and merelv re-

beyond dispute

genius, however, seems

tistic

am

and ears omitted,

a head with eves shut

actually carved

a

turned the casual cruelty and indifference that radiated from him. His

threw off convention and produced a revealing

one of his

was not

be.

victimized by a callous world that did not understand him,

painter, acquired a landlord

also a sculptor.

busts, like the

may

Paul Gauguin, whatever the popular belief

Gauguin's Varied Sculpture

was available

to

him he produced ceramics. He made

number

bust in marble and a

trait

was

terial

at least

He sketched and

hand, he carved the trunks of trees.

at

one por-

of bas-reliefs in wood. If no better ma-

painted on windows, walls and doors, and while he was wearing the

costume of Brittany he decorated even

local

O.

most active ""borrowers"

"ne of the

from

his

shoes.

Gauguin took ideas

in all art.

a score of sources, often liftingthem intact with little pretense of al-

teration

— the wrestling figures

for example,

in

The

were transposed from

kusai. Elsewhere in Gauguin's

I

Polynesia, and from

Sermon on page 86.

ision after the

by the Japanese master Ho-

a print

work there are copies of motifs from Egyp-

and Greek sculpture, from the primitive

tian

wooden

many W

art of Latin

America and

estern artists, including Botticelli, De-

lacroix, Millet, Degas, Courbet,

Daumier, Manet. Prudhon and the

school of Rembrandt. At times Gauguin was content to take an or-

dinary snapshot or a newspaper illustration and press

As

to

whether Gauguin was a master

own

surely No. His borrowings were combined with his

and

completed works have an originalitv that

his

tion.

Although

one of

is

it

sometimes startling

into service.

it

however, the reply

plagiarist,

is

is

artistic visions,

bevond serious ques-

to recognize a familiar motif in

his paintings, invariablv the motif has

been subordinated to Gau-

guin's purpose. Bust of hi- son Emil

December 1888.

At the time of his sudden departure from Aries in (HI

MmOfOUTAM m-iiu

nil

J.

-»m

«

MAI

m

WHM

IHT.

mh

"K

mi

iii

Van Gogh

leaving

developing his

in the hospital,

art.

Gauguin was

Having begun as

year and

in his 41st

still

a follower of the Impressionists,

he was now in strong reaction against them, rejecting their attempts to capture the fleeting effects of outlined figures atid areas of

light flat

had more luck than Van Gogh, ings, he sion.

had not been able

When

he offered

""crude" that he thought In at

e\

it

it

himself

in a

to

One

to a

Breton church the

probabl) was

full

a

mug

IIH

least a tew

paint-

found

pries!

to display a

number

it

Vi-

SO

it.

of his paintings

of optimism, he dragged them to the lair ol

course

where onl) "recognized"

in\ ited to

artists

hang them

Tower on

owner

difficult

had ordered a shipment of mirrors from the

in the

were given space. His

Eiffel

of Gauguin's friends persuaded the

decorate the walls. The persuasion was not

prietor

at

hoax ami declined

I

Sell puri rail

or of sharply

color. Although he had

he had sold

exhibition hall was a cafe close b) thenewl) buill

grounds.

in fax

en togiveawa) his best work to date, the

handcart, lb' was not

official pavilion,

unmodulated

in that

May 1880 Gauguin managed

the Paris world's lair

and atmosphere

to

the

fair-

permit him

...

the cafe pro-

great factor)

at

Samt-


Gobain, and when these were not delivered to

in

time

became necessar\

it

modern

the blank space with something, even

fill

Gauguin,

art.

Gauguin

through Theo. invited Vincent to contribute a few canvases

thought that six might be an appropriate number, while he himself exhibited 10. Theo, however,

on

his brother's behalf, quickly turned

number

the offer, not because of the discrepancy in the but because he

n

would be undignified,

that exhibiting in the cafe

felt

dow

of paintings

"like entering the world's fair by the back stairs."

Gauguin's venture was a financial sold. at

Patrons came to the cafe

Not a single painting was

fiasco.

large numbers, but primarily

in

to

gape

an orchestra of 12 lady violinists accompanied by a lone male cornel

player and conducted by an alleged Russian princess. Critics did arrive,

but one noted. "It

is

not easy to approach these canvases on account of

the sideboards, beer pumps, tables and the

bosom of the

cashier."

To

the popular eye the great sensation of the fair was not art but the Eiffel

Tower

itself,

who were heard

although painters,

junkman's Notre Dame." generally ignored only Georges Seurat made a study of

to refer to

Among major

it.

Young

artists

artists

it.

show was

In matters other than sales, however, Gauguin's failure.

as "the

it

far

from

a

and writers, who had seen only random samples

Moon

goddess, votive mrl (back to back)

of his work or had merely heard reports of his ideas and personalitv.

had an opportunity to study a representative selection and were deeply impressed by the paintings and by the painter himself. Gauguin,

though he was only

seemed

He

into the corners. at

five feet

four inches

to take possession of

had such presence that he

tall,

whatever room he entered, driving others

who observed him more broken than curved or

had, according to a French poet

the time, "a narrow brow and a nose

hooked, a mouth with thin straight

would slowly

lips,

and heavy eyebrows which

rise to reveal a pair of slightly

bluish pupils that rotated alternately to

troubled to allow his head or body to keep

protruding eyeballs with

and

left

he never

right, while

company with them."

G.

'auguin's conversation about art was formidable, although he had

tle

al-

education and lacked Van Gogh's wide background

lit-

Carved and painted barrel

in reading. "I â&#x20AC;˘

am

two things which can never be held up to ridicule," he once

marked, "a child and

a savage." It

was his wish

from the shackles of probability." The attempt

came from

ture was a waste of time; colors

those trees?" he asked.

And

shadow

that

is

"They

are yellow.

It

and shade to cheat.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

He

it

was

felt

lieve that there

was

in

in that area,

that "there is

is

he

"How do you

tubes.

it

well, put

down

to

to scorn

reduce forms to

modeling

salvation onlv in the extreme."

in light

were prone

no such thing as exaggerated art.

However,

I

even behis

no sense primitive. He began with the complicated, and

teries that

Parthenon

many

can be glimpsed to the

if

it.

see

yellow.

with pure ultramarine.

said, that inferior artists

tematically reduced or synthesized

lie

and

i

painting

'"to liberate

was necessary

their basic outlines, to avoid shadows,

\FÂť

to imitate the colors of na-

Very

rather blue. So render

Those red leaves? Use vermilion."

mj mi,

re-

work sys-

striving to rediscover the mys-

one goes "beyond the horses of the

wooden horses

that children plav with." In his ideas

of the sources of 20th Centurv art.

Stoneware cup with bathing

IIP

cirl


Gauguin's theories were particularly congenial to the French Sympoets

bolist

who came

into

prominence

the

in

late

In the

1880s.

Symbolist view the old academic realism in poetry and painting was out-

worn and had never come real truths lav in to

and

art

was necessary

it

by new means

to express ideas

\^

dream of

artist feels

as '"art

nature bv dreaming in the presence of

truth could be found in the tropics,

."" it

.

he seemed a sort of

.

who adopted

him.

where dusky Eves and Adams

own Edens. The Svmbolists were

in their

Adams, Eves and deep dreams

interesting

— there

Montmartre

in

still

not committed to

the notion that the tropics were the onlv place to look

some

It

long expounded his thesis that the primordial, secret roots of

survived

but

it.

an abstraction. Seek

is

19th Century soul brother to the Symbolist writers,

He had

about

reality for realitv itself.""

hen Gauguin expressed such ideas

in

the phrase of the French novelist J.-K. Huysmans, to "sub-

in

stitute the

time

by veiled convey not the mere ap-

pearance of an object or situation but what the

was time,

at that

his theories of psvchoanalvsis in Vienna.) In literature

hints and allusions, effects of strangeness that

it

who

be sure, was also the opinion of Sigmund Freud,

was developing

The

to firm grips with life in the first place.

dreams, memories, phantoms and hallucinations. (This,

were

as well

man whose ideas were kindred to theirs. So Gauguin raise monev for a vovage to Tahiti.

obliged to assist a

felt

the) set out to help

Gauguin's principal champion was the literarv

who used

Morice.

critic

and poet Charles

the power of the press to promote a great sale of Gau-

guin's paintings in Paris. Morice badgered the editors of avant-garde

magazines and newspapers for favorable publicity, and persuaded the im-

mensely popular writer Octave Mirbeau for

Echo de

Paris.

of everyone

to

produce a laudatorv

article

Gauguin himself was not inactive; he twisted the arm

who could

help him. and in doing so annoved his onetime

teacher and friend Camille Pissarro. Distressed bv the brouhaha that

Gauguin was creating, Pissarro protested against anyone who would "get himself elected a genius."" Auguste Renoir was scarcely happier,

pointing out that "one can paint as well in the Batignolles."* a district

some

of Paris, as in

exotic location. Paul Cezanne

cused Gauguin of having stolen an

roam with

T,he ing

it

sale

a

but

much

also

because

talked about.

picturesque photograph (top), taken

Miu

li

businessman who

I

>

%

a

lived in Papeete,

ai

have ac-

romantic sardonic

Gauguin's

He exhibited 30

Martinique, Brittany and Aries and sold \

said to

remarkable success, largely because of the drum-beat-

press

personalis was

I

is

concept of his "in order to

throueh the South Seas."

was

the

in

artistic

all

paintings done in

but one of them, realizing

7,500 francs (aboul 11,500) after expenses for catalogues, fram-

leasl

ing ami commissions.

\- a side benefit

lie

was able

to

obtain a letter ol

provided Gauguin with the subject and

composition for a watercolor (center) and bas-reliel (bottom <

iauguin titled l/i

ol .11

.1

.1

uerioua

II

princess

1

1

),

in

.ill

/'((/»

\1oe,

or

and related them to

who

».i- startled

mission" from the government, an honor thai entailed no

ar\

lnil

entitled

ami

to he treated with respeel

a legend

him

to a

30 per cent reduction l»\

in

Ins

steamship lare

officials in the colonies.

Before his departure for Tahiti. Gauguin went

to

Copenhagen

to see

while drinking

waterfall and, in her In^lit.

bob- leading i" the underworld.

swam intoa

hi- family, lie

had long since been separated Irom them;

elapsed since he had seen lu> children,

seven

L20

sal-

.1

as well as for a painting

(iter,

"official

to

l(>.

When

who now ranged

six in

years had

age Irom

he had been able to spare the mone) he had senl


them small sums, and apparently the vague future

"My

Mette, as

— in

hoped

lie still

for a reconciliation in

a letter at about this time he "reeled hi> wife,

adored Mette." She, who had been living on

benev-

tlie

olence of her friends and her earnings as a translator of French into Danish,

seems

With

also to

have retained some sparks of affection but was prudent.

five children,

she did not relish the possibility of a sixth and

sisted that Gauguin sleep not in her

home

in-

but in a hotel.

The visit cannot have been very pleasant. Mette s family despised GauThe children had been brought up to speak only Danish, which

guin.

Gauguin had never learned

well,

and he was saddened to discover that

most of them could scarcely say more

in

French than "Bonjour, mon

who had been

pere." Only one, his 13-year-old daughter, Aline,

tened

in

She appeared

to

understand his

total

commitment

to art

and

the unhappiness in him, and solemnly told him that "later on

your

to I

sense

shall be

wife.''

Gauguin probably did not share the proceeds of ily.

chris-

honor of Gauguin's mother, established any rapport with him.

Mette was not

in actual

his sale with his fam-

want nor was she, despite his occasional pro-

testations of love, invariably charming.

She sometimes spoke of him

"that monster" and referred to "these children,

as

whom. God knows,

woman One of the

I

never wanted." She appears to have been an attractive

but was

fond of wearing men's clothes and of smoking cigars.

last rec-

ords of her, after Gauguin's death, places her in a compartment reserved for

women on

a French train.

The conductor, seeing what he assumed male

to be a cravat-wearing, cheroot-puffing

manded

in

the

wrong

place, de-

instant departure and discovered that he was talking to Mette

Gauguin.

T,

.he artist's journey to Tahiti via Suez was lengthy but uneventful.

He

arrived in Papeete, the capital, in June 1891, bearing his paints.

100 yards of canvas, a shotgun (for securing food when the breadfruit

French horn, a guitar and two mandolins, the better

failed), a in a love-

to thrive

and music-making society. He was disillusioned verv soon.

The culture

of Tahiti, like that of almost

all

— — have been syphilized

remote islands that

the dreadful but accurate pun of anthropologists

in

by the \^est, was somewhat decayed. Gauguin already had syphilis, having contracted

it

in Paris,

was 100 years too of Tahiti,

but

still

expected to find noble savages: he

Two weeks after his arrival the last native King died — much to Gauguin's sorrow, for he had count-

late.

Pomare V,

ed on the idea that a local savage would help a European savage such as himself.

The King, who had no power and was only

French authorities, had drunk himself

way. Gauguin attended the royal funeral. Pomare

mausoleum

15 feet high, painted red and

had been intended

quor

The King's

and great-grandfather had also perished

ther, grandfather

stone

tolerated by the

to death at 52.

to

\

was

in

fa-

the same

laid to rest in a

surmounted by what

be a Grecian urn but actuallv resembled a huge

li-

bottle.

Although Gauguin's

letter of "official

mission" secured him an au-

dience with the French governor and dinner invitations from the of the European

elite

communitv. which then numbered about 300. there


were also drawbacks. The governor, who could scarcely believe that Gauguin had come some

sumed

that he

was

Gauguin, for his

1

1,600 miles from Paris merely to paint pictures, as-

snoop on the colonial administration.

a spy sent to

found the governor and the other Europeans

part,

tressingly mediocre, inferior to the degraded native Tahitians.

dis-

Soon he

Papeete and made his way 30 miles along the coast to the district of

left

Mataiea. where he rented a hut and

Thhe natives

in

commenced

to paint.

Mataiea had suffered somewhat

than had those in Papeete, but the district had than Gauguin indicated in his

less

felt its

from

civilization

impact far more

There was a primary school operated

art.

by French nuns and a general store run by a Chinese merchant. Several of the

houses were made of planks and

and there was

tin,

a patrolling

gendarme. Gauguin soon discovered that the problem of obtaining food

was by no means easy. Food was available on the mountainsides and the lagoons, but

The

it.

task

it

would have occupied most of

tives also

had garden

riculture.

He could

considered such

his

waking hours. The na-

Gauguin knew nothing of Tahitian

plots, but

ag-

not buy food from his neighbors because thev

traffic

ropean pride stood

in

required an athletic, knowledgeable native to gather

undignified, nor could he ask

them

for

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; his Eu-

it

way. The Chinese merchant sold food, to be

in the

sure, but did not deal in fruit, eggs, vegetables, fresh pork or fish be-

cause there was no market for them. Everyone, except Gauguin, had

he needed. Thus Gauguin found himself, on the island of plentv. ironic situation of living almost entirely

all

in the

on canned foods, macaroni

and dried beans, for which he paid dearly because they were imported delicacies.

These unexpected expenses, plus the cost of absinthe, which he

consumed

Gauguin's purse. However, he had

hands of friends and dealers

wine and

rent, tobacco,

in large quantities, placed great strain left a

number

on

of paintings in the

and expected that these would

in Paris,

soon be sold and the money forwarded to him. He had also lent 500 francs to Charles Morice and trusted that he would presently be repaid.

During

his first four

months

vases, scenes of everyday native

ened by

brilliant color.

I

in

Mataiea he produced about 20 can-

life

greatly simplified in form and height-

nlike

Van Gogh, who delighted

primary

in

colors and in placing complementaries side by side. Gauguin worked in

nonprimary hues and juxtaposed those and orange,

\iolet

and purple,

ing strange and beautiful

dared

to

as in

that

were closely alliedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; pink [xe (page 130), achiev-

Mini with

harmonies

thai

lew

artists

had previously

attempt.

The Tahitians liked Gauguin and called him "Koke," which was as close

;i>

the) could

come

to the

pronunciation

suitable time he was introduced to a

young

ol his lasl girl

who. with the approval of her mother, became hil i.in

age

ceremotn

.

The

girl

was

deed love her. a-

(On

.i

later

it

it

Darned

\lter a

eha amana.

I

hi- wile in a

simple Ta-

w Inch was considered a marriageable

\'A.

among the natives. Gauguin was captivated: "I

"and told her so, and

name,

\o\ ed her.

he wrote,

brought smiles to her face." Vpparentl) he did

was QOl eas)

t<Âť

in-

extract Mich a conlession Ironi him..

occasion he said of himself,

"To make me

sa)

"I

love you


you

have

will first

into his hut

break

to

the sun rose the house was

shone

my

all

teeth in.") After

became "an abode of happiness.

it

filled

in the

naturally as in the garden of Eden. ...

tween good and

darme did not in

He

felt

its

luster,

and the two of us

nearby stream as simply and

no longer saw any difference be-

I

was beautiful, and

evil. All

agree.

morning when

with radiance. Tehaamana's face

everything with

like gold, tingeing

would go out and refresh ourselves

Teha'amana moved

In the

all

wonderful." The local gen-

Europeans should not be seen bathing

that

the nude and warned Gauguin about

it.

Teha'amana understood

no more than had Mette, but per-

formed

his painting

the household tasks with gaiety and was helpful in securing

all

She did develop the habit of meeting lovers when she went out

food.

bush

into the

even after Gauguin discovered this he

to gather fruit, but

was not greatly upset. Teha'amana also served him often

who holds she who appears she

is

the Christ Child in in

The

Spirit of the

as a model.

It

Hail Thee, Mary (page 116), and

/

Dead U atching (pages 132-133).

This latter painting was actually inspired by Teha'amana. for she

in-

troduced him to a few of the superstitions of the Tahitians, including the fear oitupapaus, or ghosts, that attempt to invade unlighted houses

Gauguin's description of the idea behind the work should

at night.

He

re-

had been absent from his hut after sundown and had

re-

have been particularly pleasing to lated that he

turned to find the

means

"How

at

Symbolist friends in France.

lying terrified on her bed in the dark. Lacking

girl

was convinced that the waiting tupapau was

to strike a light, she

about to enter

his

Gauguin conveyed the myster) of

any moment.

does a native

woman

envisage a specter?" he wrote. "She has

never visited a theater or read novels. therefore, she has to think of

my

specter

is

When

she tries to imagine one,

some [ordinary] person she has

just like an ordinary little

woman

seen. So

stretching out her hand

Tahitian

wooden

title

if

My

to seize the prey.

feeling for the decorative leads

me

to strew

the background with flowers. These are tupapau flowers (phosphorescent lights).

.

.

Let

.

me sum

up.

The musical composition: undulating

lines,

harmonies of orange and blue connected by the secondary colors of low and violet, and

injunction ""Be

in

of the living

woman

night and day.

I

is

espite his

lonely

man

a foreigner

as a

symbol

ol

perverseness

The opposites of down the origin of this picture for those who why and wherefore. But otherwise it is simplv a

a

in Tahiti. Self-exiled

among the

natives.

a

from the white community, he was also

He wrote

affectionately to Mette and filled

notebook with aphorisms suggesting ideas that he thought were shared

by his daughter Aline, inscribing of myself. She, too,

Although

life in

France, Gauguin a small

is

a savage;

"These ruminations are

reflections

she will understand me."

Mataiea was somewhat easier than

still felt

sum from France

change of

it.

it

had been

in

the need for monev. Occasionallv he received

but the mail was maddeninglv slow

letters required four

months

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; an

in

Gauguin"- work-, was explained b)

vel-

enchantment with Teha'amana, Gauguin remained

he

belie the simplicity of that

nude from the South Seas."

D

around the

oil will

message. The fox, w hich appears

set

must always know the

s

happy." hut the cringing, woeful figures

united with the spirit of the dead.

have

built

love and

by greenish sparks. The literary theme: the soul

lit

South

means ""wonderful earth." The

bas-reliel below

around the word-

as

a

Sea- rain forest in the woodcut ahove. The

ex-

and often the news was bleak.

His friend Morice not only did not repav the loan of 500 francs but em-

123

ami

many

ol

tin- arti-t

ol himself.


him by an

bezzled another 850 that had been entrusted to

forwarding.

some

\^ ith

justice,

over, his health began to

Gauguin

fail:

art dealer for

cut off and betrayed. More-

felt

44 he wrote that "I have suddenlv

at

aged quite astonishingly."" In addition to his syphilis, or perhaps in connection with

he had developed a heart ailment, and

it.

ing difficultv with his eves, \e\ertheless,

was exhausted, he resolutely

He managed tempt

to

to sell

two of

when

times was hav-

at

his supply of canvas

about making sculptures

set

his carvings for

in

wood.

300 francs each but

his at-

support himself by his art in Tahiti was foredoomed. Earlier,

he had petitioned the director of the Academy of Arts in Paris

re-

questing repatriation as a "destitute and distressed"' French citizen,

and

after

months of paper work he was assigned passage home. He

lehaamana weeping on

sence of 29 months, he was back in Paris.

60 paintings

left

the beach. In September 1893. after an ab-

He had produced more than

view of the success of the sale that had been

in Tahiti. In

held before his departure. Gauguin might well have hoped for recognition and

monev.

The Svmbolists

again

came

of his work, but this time

and promoted another exhibition

to his aid

bordered on disaster. There were only a

it

few sales and the critical notices were devastating. "If you want to entertain

your children.""

said a note in the press,

"send them

to the

Gau-

guin exhibition. The attractions include colored images of apelike female

quadrumanes stretched out on green Gauguin, who

at

billiard tables."

times was heroicallv tenacious and

others easih

at

discouraged, confessed to a friend, "I have nothing to hope for here.

should

never to see Europeans again."" However, as

like

come

terbalance his fiasco, he had recently

who had Gauguin shared Toulouse-Lautrec's penchant lor

whimsical photographs, as

testifies.

It

was taken

in

had returned from his

was In inn

at

1 1

1

i

snapshot

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

1893, alter

first

Mucha, a Czech

artist.

a

two mandolins. Mere he

sits at

harmonium, trouserless bul

sent

him

a telegram

Gauguin, died and

An uncle

him 13.000

left

word of the legacv even before Gauguin

got

and asked

I

coun-

did,

monev.

for half the

and

Musicall) inclined,

French horn,

who

into a windfall.

to

Gauguin

trip to Tahiti

the I'aris studio of Vlphonse

Gauguin owned

lived in Orleans. Isidore

francs. Mette.

if

a guitar,

and

Wh

hile the estate

row

monev

easily,

was being

moved

Gauguin, who could now bor-

settled.

into an apartment in Paris.

There he held

soi-

Mucha's

self-possessed.

rees during

on the South Seas writers, but

his role as world traveler, discoursing

which he exploited

to his guests.

among them were

the poel Mallarme and the

These were mainly young

men

a few

part Indian,

a

although that was onl)

(Gauguin had

to

little

dark-skinned halt-caste

named Annah. She was

cakes were passed by girl, part

Mala) and

indolent, garrulous and childish

be expected

a predilection for

and

\ri>tide \laillol. Occasionally

young sculptor

there were music and dancing, and plates o(

Gauguin's new mistress,

artists

of stature, including Degas,

in

young

\

iew of her age.

girls, a

which was

13.

desire eas) to satisf) in

the dissolute Paris of that time, although he also had affairs with mature

women.) To keep Annah amused he bought her

also

resumed painting, drawing on

duce canvases as excellenl worked, as he often \licr he had

been

m

hi> recollection- ol

as those he had

said, better

made on

monkey. He

lahtti to pro-

the island.

He

from memor) than from nature.

Paris for several

ceived In- legacy, but sent Mette onl)

months Gauguin at last reThe letter- thai

1,500 francs.

passed between them became increasing!) bitter

L24

a pet

Mette had friends

in


the city and doubtless had been informed about Annah.

The

possibilit)

of a reconciliation dwindled to the vanishing point. In April 1894, shortly before his

46th birthday, Gauguin journeyed

again to Brittany in hopes of finding a quiet atmosphere for work but

soon met with disaster. While strolling

and at

a

in a seaside

town with Annah

few fellow artists and their ladies, he heard insults being shouted

his half-caste

companion from

a cafe.

Gauguin reacted, and there

which he was knocked down and brutally kicked by sev-

was

a brawl in

eral

Breton fishermen wearing heavy sabots. His leg was smashed just

above the ankle, the shinbone protruding from the skin.

Gauguin was bedridden

When

not heal properly.

in

Brittany for two months: his injury did

at last

he returned to the

heavy, carved cane, he found that Annah,

who had

hobbling on a

city,

arrived earlier, had

ransacked his apartment. She removed everything she considered valuable, but she did not trouble to take his paintings.

'"This filthy

Europe!" he

He would

cried.

go back to the South Seas

and "carve imaginary beings on the trees," ending quil without

his life "free

and tran-

thought for the morrow and without struggling eternally

against the fools." Before his departure he held another sale, an auction that

was even more disastrous than the preceding

much of his own work because minimum prices he had set. One of his

forced to buy back to

meet the

He was

offering.

the bidders refused friends took

him

to

dinner after the debacle and recorded that Gauguin was "crying like a child."

H

e

returned to Tahiti

in

September 1895 and found

that

Papeete

had become increasingly Europeanized. There were electric lights and a

fun

fair

with a steam-driven merry-go-round.

had begun to advance the cause of

art

The

local

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "We have pleasure

our readers four superb oleographs of

J. F.

newspaper in offering

Millets famous paintings.

The Angelas, The Gleaners, The Sower and The Shepherdess and Flock.

which depict rural

masterly style against a background

life in

sound and healthy poetry." The

taste of middle-class

full

Europe, with

joy in the realistic, the sentimental and the pleasantly narrative, had

of its

fol-

lowed him around the globe.

and built a hut. He bought wound in his leg had opened and he had difficulty in walking. He summoned Teha'amana, who during his absence had married a Tahitian youth, and she promptly came to him. However, the second honeymoon was brief; the girl was shocked by his physical decay

Gauguin leased

a

a plot of land near Papeete

horse and trap; the

and soon returned Pau'ura a Tai,

to her

whom

husband. Gauguin found another vahine,

he described as being

13.

Within a few months Gauguin was again reduced identical to those of his

first

sojourn

to

circumstances

in Tahiti; his capital

exhausted.

he waited anxiously for the arrival of every mail schooner, hoping that friends or dealers in Paris had

somehow managed

to sell a painting.

After he had been in the island for a year and a half he heard from

Mette,

who informed him

dead of pneumonia

at

19.

in briefest

terms that his daughter Aline was

Gauguin did not reply immediately, but then

sent a curt note that concluded,

"Her tomb over there with

flowers

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

it

125


is

onlv an illusion. Her tomb

He never wrote

ers."

My

here near me.

is

tears are living flow-

to his wife again.

Late in 1897, about eight months after hearing of Aline's death. Gau-

guin produced his largest and surely one of his finest paintings

do we come from/

If

hat are ice/

If

Lacking canvas for so enormous a work 13 feet wide

— he painted He

ing copra sacks.

him

a

it

hills

last

testament.

behind his hut, tak-

box of powdered arsenic that had been prescribed as med-

and lav down to

him

nearly five feet high bv

is

it

he walked up into the

from

ication for rashes that resulted

killing

here

\\

burlap used in Tahiti for mak-

evidently intended the painting as a

Shortly after completing ing with

common

on the

it

here are ice going' (pages 134-135).

die.

his syphilis.

He swallowed

of

all

it

But the amount of poison was too great; instead of

acted merely as a painful purgative, and after a night of

it

vomiting and retching he returned to his hut "condemned." as he

said,

"to live."

During the next two years Gauguin painted

little.

His health grew

worse and the possibility of help from France seemed more remote

al-

though, unknown to him. a market for his paintings was fast developing. He took a job as a clerk in the Tahitian Public W orks Department and for a time dabbled in journalism, contributing articles to a satirical

monthly

called Les Guepes

( 1

he

asps) in which he assailed the co-

f\

lonial

government. His complaints were peevish and sometimes obscure

— he

once charged that a native had been committing a nuisance near

house bv "going about

his

in

the grounds." and he was furious at

the local magistrate for doing nothing about

founded

own

his

Leaving Les Guepes. he

it.

paper, Le Sourire (The Smile), which consisted of four

pages and had a circulation of 21. In ministration,

broom

with an ordinary house

in the night

and sweeping among the bushes

referring to

various

it

he continued to attack the ad-

public

figures

as

bogevmen and

despots.

May

In

1900. aged 51. Gauguin was rescued from his painful poverty

bv a Parisian art dealer

named Ambroise

\ ollard.

who agreed

to

buy

of Gauguin's future paintings at 200 francs apiece and to advance

300 francs

month

a

sas,

against production. Secure at

and embarked

his hut in Tahiti

for the island of Hiva

last.

Oa

all

him

Gauguin sold in the

Marque-

about 750 miles to the northeast, where he hoped to find a more un-

spoiled society and better models, as he said. I

be red-haired in -

I

though

l.i

~ln-

-i

I

ohotaua was one

models and also

<>f

his mistress,

had a native husband.

\

which he called "house aphed her

I >« >

ri r.i

1

-till i>i

vt

pleasure,"

hile she

shown above. Gauguin

painting I

(i<>/>)

1

nl

her husband,

ongeniall) despite

.1

T

.he

commercial traveler visiting Gauguin's home,

-.11

also

who posed

fearsome

tor the

produced

Marquesas Islands, although they lacked an amusement park.

had a claim to civilization. Their population, which had been about

80,000 when American and European vessels had begun

them

early in the 19th Centur)

guin

arrived,

owing

to

.

such

to

involuntary

imports as

tuberculosis,

local

reputation Inr practicing black magi<

alcoholism and measles, which was verj often

unexposed Datives. Gauguin, with the aid of house on Hiva Oa. decorating

it>

mistress, aged I

I

I.

nfortunatel)

istrators

in

Hiva

and he began

fatal

to the

previousl)

native" carpenter-, built a

interior with a collection ol

nographic photographs he had bought

126

to frequent

3.500 b) the tunc Gau-

had dwindled

to paint

in

Suez.

He soon acquired

a

por-

new

once more.

he continued his quarrel with the colonial admin-

Oa

there was a gendarme

who was

responsible to the


Gauguin frequently offended the man, who once

authorities in Tahiti.

summons

sued him a

for driving a cart at night without lights. Since

guin's cart was the only one on the island,

menace

great

and thus

to traffic,

how went out of

way

his

is

it

could not have been

it

is-

Gaua

possible to believe that he some-

to insult the policeman.

His various diseases became worse, and he wrote to France suggesting

home. In reply he received

that he return

your

to be feared that

which

the history

of art.

.

.

.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or rather with the world With more

visiting his hut.

justice

more

T,

Gauguin

my

Nor

shall

head high," he

wrath than

reality,

to three

said,

well

it

On

months

was heard Paul Gauguin died, alone

Marquesas

in the

in the

trumped-up

a

li-

in jail.

shall

always

to be a

in the

my

honor." Be-

in his hut.

It is re-

head." which was

means of rousing the moribund,

in a

priest, reporting to France,

named Gauguin,

erything that

is

Jf

Standing beside one of his father"- paint inu-

wrote that

worthy event here has been the sudden death of individual

p \

as

might have been.

The Catholic

r

"proud of ray well-earned reputation.

corded that a native found him and "bit him thought

â&#x20AC;˘

girls

he was convicted of

permit anyone to say anything derogatory to

I

fore the appeal

young

also attacked the

was never served. Gauguin appealed. "I

.he sentence

hold

reflected

gendarme and sentenced

beling the local

quietly desperate,

to prevent

next world. His belligerence led to serious problems. charge, which

into

his quarrels with the lo-

itself. Bitter,

by promising the natives better real estate

it

far Pa-

you have passed

.

most of the good land on Hiva Oa, some-

for having snatched

times obtaining

.

who had attempted

he assailed a Catholic priest

from

is

Wait patiently."

.

Gauguin evidently shrugged and continued cal authorities

Church

who, from the

that extraordinary, legendary artist

sends disconcerting, inimitable works

cific,

""It

an incubation,

a tendency,

taking place in public opinion with regard to you: you are at

is

moment

the

from a friend:

a letter

would upset

arrival

a reputed artist but

""the

a

onlv note-

contemptible

an enemy of God and ev-

New

one

'l

ork

heeame an

artist in his

decent."

At about the same time a French functionary in the Marquesas wrote,

have requested

all

creditors of the deceased to submit duplicate state-

ments of their accounts, but

am

already convinced that the

considerably exceed the assets, as the few pictures

will

left

liabilities

by the

who belonged

ing purchasers." a few

still

decadent school, have

Gauguin had sent most of

remained

in

little

auctioned

tioneer held

it

water, having lived not quite 55 years. a baked-clay

for

memorial on

more than

a tourist

his grave:

half a century but

who wished

to take

his

house, were

were low.

Hiva Oa overlooking the

A young Marquesan friend placed u <,i i\. 1903. This remained

pu

i.

<;

was stolen

home

in

a few years ago. perhaps by

a souvenir of the

51.

fisherman. Then, in

woman

painting. Hi- wildly colorful canvases caused interest in the art world, to the

I

nited State-,

ami Emile was

where he sold

missed his large famiK ami decided to return

agara Falls.

cemetery

a

wa- 17

smile of his work-. Hut after several years he

Mage in the Snow, sold for seven francs. The aucupside down and announced that it was a picture of Niin a hilltop

be

lai.

Gauguin Âťa-

1961, he was discovered h\ a French

some

I

Gauguin was buried

who

Hi-

France but

in Tahiti for the benefit of his creditors. Prices

canvas, Breton

to

in 1899.

late

Hiva Oa. These, together with many drawings, wain

n right.

prospect of find-

his paintings to

and wood carvings that were found

tercolors

One

to the

ow

journalist and encouraged by her to trv

brought

painter,

Kmile Gauguin

i-

Polynesian mother, Pau'ura a

when he was horn Emile grew up

'"I

museum

ol Paul's illegitimate children,

South Seas.

to hi- island

home.


r

I n the spring of 1891

Gauguin

sailed for Tahiti.

He had

evidently convinced himself, as he had before, that in a

new environment where the

living

was simple and cheap

he would find a perfect place to work. During the previous

Troubled Idyl

months, beset by financial worries and exhausted by his burst of activity in Brittany, he had scarcely painted at

Now, he imagined, he could

live

all.

offthe natural bounty of

the island, where his flagging inspiration would be

refreshed by a wild and primitive beauty, and where his familv and a host of artist-friends would soon join him.

But the reality of Tahiti was far different from Gauguin's dream. Arriving

in Papeete, the capital city,

he found

and moved into the back

it

far too civilized

country. There, indeed, he was inspired by the sturdy

Polynesian

men and women and he found

fascinated by their ancient

myths and

completed some 65 canvases living,

He

about 18 months. The

however, was not so easy as he had anticipated.

nable to gather his

I

in

himself

superstitions.

own

food, as the natives did, he was

forced to buy at relatively high prices from the few local stores.

Money owed him

in

France was not forthcoming.

Never moved

time. \\

orsr. his health

was not good and his eyes began

to fail.

So, in 1893, he returned to Europe. But Paris, and even Ins beloved Brittany, did not

welcome him and

in

1895 he

his

Gauguin was entranced

dying da)

women, and

again to the South Seas. At least in the islands he

could paint, and colored pictures

1

28

it

was

in his

that he

work

found

his glorious, richly

his final escape.

like the

one

lie

ot

Polynesian

celebrated their

in a

Hood

ol

pictures

at right.

Paul Gauguin: Tahitian iitth

until

the animal grace

l>\

and carefree nudit)

womanhood lied

to paint the tight-

laced, frivolous Parisiennes ol his

Women

Mango Blossoms, 1899


129


Paul Gauguin: Muniuili

no

Ixe, 1891


Paul Gauguin

W_Joon

after his arrival in the tropics,

began to change subtly. The picture the

first

he painted

in Tahiti,

and

it

at

Gauguin's style the

still

stained-glass kind of outlining of figures

left is

one of

shows the

Within a year, however, he had relaxed

this formal

device somewhat, and in the painting above, the colors

meet each other

in

easy curves and graceful abstract

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; colors used for their own

sake or as symbolic of an emotion or thought. At the for instance, the

sandy beach

red and purple, the nets the

is

left,

seen in stripes of green,

woman

is

arranging in the

canoe are a golden heap. The choices seem arbitrary, but they are highly personal and always harmonize.

A

le

hint

Mill

t

ttv the Sen

how Gauguin arrived at his colors is found in his Aoa Aoa. He described the scene that had

journal,

"which

leaves a blue impression against the silvery skv.

While he

lived in Tahiti.

own

Gauguin used color more and

more

for

like a

composer. Indeed, as one of his poet friends said

its

glorious sake, abstractly and musically

of a picture, perhaps the one above, "It

shapes. In both pictures Gauguin continued to pursue his "synthetic" use of color

Fatala

inspired this picture, writing of the heavy axe

and forms that

had characterized some of his Breton works (pages 81, 86).

at

:

poem,

it

is

a musical

needs no libretto." Gauguin's paintings always

have a "libretto": they are not pure abstractions. The subject matter of the two

shown here

But Gauguin was also interested the "savages" that he came to

know and

works he would delve deeplv into and into

his

own

is

perfectly clear.

in the spiritual life of

love. In other

their lore, their beliefs,

feelings about the mvsteries of

131

life.

/.

1892


G P

auguin took a wife

in Tahiti, a 13-year-

and

old girl called Teha'amana,

it

was partly

from her that he learned how some of the old

myths and superstitions lingered beneath the that the islanders had

mask of Christianity

Among the powers

only recently adopted.

and

were very

spirits that

real to the

â&#x20AC;˘

Tahitians were tupapaus, ghosts that stalked the night and represented the Spirit of the

Dead. Gauguin witnessed the potency of this belief

one night when he returned

late to his

hut to find his child bride in the dark stretched out on her bed half-crazed with fear.

women,

Tahitian

without a

light

had run out of lamp being away.

it

seems, never slept

during the night and Gauguin oil

The image

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; one reason for his of the poor girl so

struck the painter that he set about to

re-

create the scene on canvas. In essence, the painting

is

a repetition of a

the reclining nude. Gauguin

classic subject

had once copied Manet's Olympia, and he certainly

knew the elegant and

lovely

Venuses of Titian and Velazquez, perhaps even Goya's \aked Maja. But respects

picture

(lie

is

in

most other

pure Gauguin. The

decorative patterns of the bed cloth, the

flat,

background wall studded with symbolic of the

phosphorescenl (lowers eerie glow ol the spirit

of his stvle as

it

these are elements

had developed

Similarly personal

is

physical form lor the tupapau,

mask-faced bed.

I

woman

aiting

132

seated

symbol and

painted a picture

in Brittany.

Ins invention of a

lull ol

al

shown

as a

the foot of the

reality,

he has

beauty and meaning.


Paul Gauguin

:

Manao Tupapau The (

Spirit

of the Demi

U atchins

133

I.

18^2


I n 1897. two years after returning to the South Seas from an unhappy sojourn

in France,

Gauguin was again

plagued by poverty and disease and decided on the ultimate escape: suicide. But his ideas in

one

more than 12

ŠOf Q<i

lent"**; V. ui

A I Ion]

*M4

last,

feet

first

he wished to

great painting.

wide

It is

sum up

his largest

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and perhaps his

finest

work.

Here

from

is

his

own

description of the picture, which reads

"To the right, women. Two

right to left, in the Oriental fashion.

below, a sleeping baby and three seated

figures dressed in purple confide their thoughts to each

other.

An enormous

[seated] figure

violates perspective, raises

its

arm

which intentionally

in the air

and looks

in


who

astonishment

at

these two people

their destiny.

A

figure in the center

cats near a child.

A

.

.

.

goat.

An

is

idol,

to her thoughts.

dare to think of picking fruit.

Two

The

both arms

mysteriously and rhythmically raised, seems to indicate

A girl seems to listen to the woman approaching death appears

the Beyond.

an old

.

.

idol. Lastly,

.

.

.

.

resigned

She completes the

strange white bird title

.

.

story. At her feet a

represents the futility of words.

.

of the picture, seen by Gauguin as a

philosophical statement "comparable to the Gospels," reveals his pessimistic

mood. But Gauguin's suicide

attempt failed; he lived

Paul Gauguin:

\\

here do

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and painted â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

we comefrom?

II

hat are we?

II

five

here are

more

years.

we going? 1OT7

135


136


.

VII Mastery out of Despair

W

hen Vincent regained consciousness

in the hospital in Aries

not the fact that he had suffered a severe mental breakdown that

cerned him. Nor was he greatly troubled by his mutilated ear

it

\\a-

first

con-

— soon he

was able to joke about having one made of papier-mache. His deep fear

was that Gauguin might send what \ incent considered a V

riving late on Christmas Eve.

is.

He had

Gauguin

who took

incent and telegraphed Theo.

three days but then

Theo, alarming him over

a telegram to

trivial affair.

the

did.

first

Theo remained with

He

refused to see

train to Aries, ar\ incent for

two or

— accompanied by Gauguin — returned sadlv to Par-

seen enough to know that there was nothing he could do for

his brother.

Theo had

just

Amsterdam, and

become engaged in a letter to

Dutch

to a

now

her he

with Vincent. "'He had. while

girl.

Johanna Bonger from

reported

how matters stood

was with him. moments

I

in

which he

acted normally, but then after a short while he slipped off into wan-

derings on philosophy and theology. all this,

those

for

from time

moments he

to time

It

was deeply saddening

to w itness

he became conscious of his illness and

tried to crv

— vet

no tears came. Poor

poor, poor sufferer. For the time being nobodv can do anything to leviate his suffering,

though he himself

he had been able to find somebodv heart,

mavbe

it

It

was

\

an Gogh's habit whenever

at a

new place

to record

he scenes he saw about him every

day. Thus,

when he began

his

at

Saint-Remy. he

sketched and painted

manv

view

of the grounds, including this

has done more than manv

it.

but

my

heart breaks

II

he could have opened hi>

hope, but during his

life

he

others, and he has suffered and struggled

more than most people could have done. be

al-

deeplv and strongly.

to all this.'"

little

is

it

when

I

If

think of

it

must be

that he dies,

-

it."

Vincent's tragedy aroused the sympathy of some of the townspeople.

voluntary confinement in the

mental hospital

whom

would never have come

Next dav Theo added. "There

he arrived

to

feels

in

and

fighter

-

His friend, the postman Joseph Roulin. visited him dailv and remained in frequent

and the

touch with Theo. So too did his physician, Dr. Felix Re\

local Protestant minister. Pastor Frederic Salles.

On December

delicate watercolor.

29th Dr. Rev wrote to Theo that Stone Steps

in the

Hospital

Garden, Saint-Remv.

May 1889

had

tried to bathe in a coal scuttle,

down

in

incents condition was grave

V

had menaced

another patients bed and refused

a nurse,

to get up.

It

and had

he lain

had been aec-

137


him

essary to lock

up. But only three days later Vincent

that he could write to

woman and my

Theo: "I expect

way here

again,

When

get out,

I

and soon the

that, for after all

To was

My

be coming and

will

dear boy,

am

I

lit-

shall

I

so terribly dis-

should have wished you had been spared

I

no harm came

me, and there was no reason why

to

Vincent added a postscript for Gauguin: "Look here

brother Theo's journey really necessary, old

do reassure him completely, and that after all

my own

shall be able to go

so upset."

this letter

my

I

weather

fine

again start on the orchards in bloom. tressed over your journey.

you should be

was so recovered work again soon. The char-

friend Roulin have taken care of the house, and have

put everything in order. tle

to start

no

man? Now

at least

entreat you, be confident yourself

I

evil exists in this best of

worlds in which everything

is

for the best."

In this

sentence Vincent revealed his childlike vulnerability by

last

paraphrasing the famous saying of the fatuously optimistic philosopher. Dr. Pangloss, in Voltaire's satire, Candide. In the face of repeated and

horrendous catastrophes, Pangloss keeps insisting that best in this best of that Pangloss

is

all

a fool

and that

But Vincent, with his naive

it

this

is

the worst of

he referred

all

is

possible worlds.

Despite his

it.

many own mis-

philosophy

to Pangloss'

plain that he often agreed with

is

for the

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or heroic â&#x20AC;&#x201D; idealism, chose to take Dr. Pan-

gloss seriously. In his letters

times, and

"all

possible worlds." Voltaire's point, to be sure,

fortunes, Vincent wanted to believe that everything

for the best in

is

this best of all possible worlds.

A rom

the letters written immediately after his seizure

it

seems clear

no idea of what had happened

that Vincent had as yet almost

to him.

He soon wrote

to

and then a

of fever after very considerable loss of blood, as an ar-

lot

Theo, "I hope

tery was severed; but all

right

and

my

my

I

have just had simply an

came back

appetite

at

once,

my

enough

my that

terward, but

illness."

A

did not

is

se-

unhappy jour-

few weeks later he revealed, "I knew well

one could fracture one's I

fit,

digestion

blood recovers from day to day, and in the same way

renity returns. ... So please quite deliberately forget your

ney and

artist's

know

that

and arms and recover

legs

you could fracture the brain

head and recover from that too." By this time

it

af-

your

in

seemed that he had,

in-

deed, recovered: he had resumed living in his yellow house and was painting again. Moreover, his art showed not the slightest trace of madness. His Self- Port mil with Pipe

terpiece

of objectivity and

postman's wife (La Berceuse), brilliantly

Early \

in

and Bandaged Ear (page IW)

his

likenesses

made

at

of

Madame

the

constructed as any of his works.

February 1889, a month after his release

someone was attempting

to the hospital

soon returned

to

poison him.

he refused to speak to

work. He

still

a

W

I

rom the

first

himself terrified by unearthly sounds and voices, and lien

hospital.

attack, he found

now was coin

inced

he was readmitted

word. But again he recovered and

resisted the thought that his condition

might he chronic, and eagerK snatched

I.'18

a mas-

about this time, are as lucid and

incent suffered a relapse. As had happened in his

thai

is

Roulin,

at a

suggestion that acts

ot

mad-


Theo he reported

ness were not rare in the Midi. In a letter to

had found encouragement for this optimistic idea

of

in,

he

tliat

the

all place.-,

nightmarish brothel that he had visited on the night of his self-mutilation: "\ esterdav I went to see the girl I had gone to when was out I

of

my

They

wits.

me

told

there that in this country things like that are

not out of the ordinary."

Manv

of the proper people of Aries, however, were not so com-

Swarms

passionate as the girls in the bordello.

companied bv his yellow

him

adults, jeered

of children, sometimes ac-

in the streets. \^

house they threw stones

at

it

hen he retreated

and climbed up

to taunt

through the windows. Goaded beyond endurance, he screamed

Soon the

to the hospital,

neighbors

citizens

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; had

many

them.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; none of them, he later discovered, his immediate

signed a letter to the

mayor requesting

"\^ hat a staggering blow between the eves so

him

came to the house, seized him and took him once more where he was locked in a cell for dangerous lunatic -.

police

More than 80

at

into

that action.

was." he wrote, "to find

it

people here cowardly enough to join together against one

man. and that man

ill."

In his cell, peered at bv guards, deprived of his paints and even of his tobacco,

of

my

he was able to assure Theo that he was "in

madman

faculties, not a

possession

full

but the brother you know."

He was

also

we can do perhaps is to the great griefs of human

able to add a few words of comfort: "the best

make fun of our too.

life

Take

man, go

like a

it

dear boy. for a

petty griefs and. in a way, of

little

while,

your

straight to

goal.

of quarantine they are forcing on me. for

terward \ incent wrote to his sister

all

I

.

.

But the

memory

of

.

.

Goodbye, mv

them often sustains me

it is

a sort

know." Not long

ilhelmina in Holland:

\^

know the arguments of the good Father Pangloss .

.

hope, and don't worry. Perhaps

I

"You

af-

don't

in \ oltaires Candide. in the

hours and days The

and nights that are hardly easy or enviable."

did

Theo, preparing for his marriage, could Aries, but

on learning that the

southern France asked him

artist

afford a second journev to

ill

Paul Signac was about to travel to

to visit Vincent.

Signac was allowed by the

in

house, found

him on

a walk.

They went

to the yellow

sealed and guarded by police, but eventually gained ad-

it

1889.

\

an (ioeh Âťa- tw

its

little tired.

There was

rectly out of the container

was time

for

him

a terrific mistral

from his seizure. second

\ incent's

blowing which

It

to return to the hospital."

incent continued to hope that his seizures had a simple origin, and

and a cautious

of eating enough and alcohol.

I

admit

high yellow note

"the furnace

life

I

might cure him. "M. Rev savs that instead

regular times,

all that,

but

all

attained last

keyed up." And that in

at

much heat ...

is

I

kept myself going on coffee and

the same

summer,

I

it

is

true that to attain the

really

had

room wa- on the

floor of the three-story building.

V,

that rest

it

and round pool. w huh

to drink a liter of turpentine di-

which was on the table of the bedroom.

as

an Gogh painted while he wa- recuperating

"All day long he talked about painting, literature, socialism. In the eve-

may have unnerved him. He wanted

much

confined there

shaded galleries open onto

a landscaped courtyard

mission. \ incent happily displayed his pictures, and as Signac recalled.

ning he was a

ice

A sun-whitened Mediterranean

stucco building,

\

hospital authorities to escort

hospital at \rle> looks toda)

when

to be prettv well

certainly correct: to produce his pictures

of the Midi." venturing into the perilous

world where objects and emotions become fused, he had gambled his san-

139


photograph of the Calholk as* lum

!

of Saint-Remy, where Van patient,

\[\

Each day he had

.

left

the fields with his canvas and easel, reeling

from "the mental labor of balancing the

I

six essential colors

red. blue.

shows the imposing facade of the

rambling old structure. originalrj

yellow, orange,

IT*

an Vugustinian monaster)

the 12th and 13th Centuries.

m

each side

served to house patients

founded earl}

in

Two

when

built in

long, low

is

green. Sheer work and calculation

.

.

an

like

.

actor on a stage in a difficult part, with a hundred things to think ol at

once

ol the cloister

in a single

half-hour/

After Signac's

visit \

1

incent was once

more permitted

to

walk abroad

the asylum was

the 1800s. \ incent's drawing

of the circular stone pool

lilac,

on pag

by himself and to paint. His physical strength increased, but he touud

himself

tilled

with "a certain undercurrent of vague sadness

define/' troubled bj shapeless tears

can

who

the modern world without catching his share of them?" He

live in

continued

difficult to

"\1\ God, those anxieties

to live in the hospital

ing out again on his Salles. told

him

ow a

ot

n.

and could not face the terrors of strik-

The Protestant minister, the Ke\ ereud

mental institution

in

1

rederie

the town ot Saint-Remy,

about 15 miles away, where he might be accepted as a patient. Voluntarily,

indeed eagerly, Vincent requested admission to the place,

hoping only that he would be allowed

to

continue painting.

\t first

ap-

it

peared that the director of Saint-Remy, Dr. lheophile Peyron, might not permit this. In despair

\

years in the French Foreign

I

tle

In an)

wrote

made with the

to the director: **\\ ith

who

i>

cent

\\

m\ brother.

that hi*

illem van

I

i>

hospital

at

Saint-Remy.

I

at

heo

the consent of the person in question,

request the admission to your institution ot Vin-

Gogh, painter, 36 years

internment

a lonel)

uniform, with which he could not cope, But

length an arrangement was

old.

... In view

ol

the fact

desired inainh to prevent the recurrence ol pre-

vious attacks and not because In- mental condition

\o

lit-

even more neatl) than the order of an institution tor the mad.

was the unscheduled horror, the panic that suddenl) seites

man unprotected

I

ot enlisting tor five

possibl) he might be able to do a

painting there, and militar) routine would organize the horrors of

dailj lite It

meent spoke senousK egion

i>

unsound,

I

hope


.

that

vou

will find

possible to permit

it

of your establishment. ...

him

to

do some painting outside

beg you to be kind enough to allow him

I

A view of the rear of Saint-Remy, where a \

at

ineyard has been planted, shot*

that

least a half liter of \ incent

wine with his meals."

was admitted

rector Peyron interviewed

him

and hearing which have caused him

seems

ting off his ear. At present he

he does not

An

.

.

.

and entered

in the register

to

to mutilate

himself by cut-

my

opinion

is

that

room

incent's cell-like

floor of the

wing

at

the

\\a-

riL'ht.

been unused for decade- and rebuilt.

There

is

a

memorial

M. van Gogh

is

made

to

preserve the room

live in-

very infrequent intervals."

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no ac-

curate case history was recorded by any of the doctors in whose care

he found himself. In the years since his death, however,

offer their speculations.

many phy-

and psychologists have been bold enough to

sicians, psychoanalysts

It

has been suggested that he suffered from para-

noid schizophrenia, that he was an advanced alcoholic and that his brain was

damaged bv

syphilis, but there does not

foundation for any of these notions.

It

fairlv close to the

cent in Aries after his

first

much

has been generally thought that

Dr. Peyron of Saint-Remy, in his use of the

have been

appear to be

word "epileptic." may

mark. The phvsician

who had

attended

\ in-

attack was also persuaded that epilepsv was

volved. However, the word can have a variety of connotations, and

would be presumptuous

to fasten

init

on anv one of them. In recent years

psychiatrists have also favored the view that \ incent had a ""manic-de-

pressive psychosis"

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he

did.

it

is

true, experience alternating periods

of depression and intense activity. But for that

ma

f

ter the lives of

the tower

on the -eeond

The w i-

due

m<; has to be

to the artist

the hospital grounds, but no attempt

subject to epileptic

exact diagnosis of V incent's ailment can never be set forth

-

monaster)

of the original

have recovered his reason, but

he possesses the strength and the courage to

feel that

dependently fits at

at that time,

8. 1889. Di-

from acute mania with hallucinations of

that the patient "is suffering sight

\

Saint-Remy hospital on May

to the

was part

most

people have a similar pattern, with the obvious exception that the average citizen never reaches such depths or heights. Perhaps the most rea-

in

\

ha:-

incent used.

on been


n

(,nni corridors

where

\

ill

the wing

Saint-Remy

at

an Gogh lived give access to rows of

bolted cells (riborr) with barred windows. Vside from confinement,

which was probably

prescribed lor his ow n safet)

.

\

incent

received no other treatment than

therapeutic baths

in a

he was given a eertain in

mum

and

is

Dutch psychiatrist Dr. G. Kraus. whose

that of the

is

appended

American edition of Vincent's

to the

to give

Van Gogh's ailment any name

was an individual

were

V incent's attacks

totally

concluding simply that

'"he

overpowering, and seem to have been

triggered by severe emotional stress

with Gauguin or

at all.

in his illness, as well as in his art."

amount of freedom

and sketch.

letters. Dr.

Kraus, after considering and rejecting a number of hypotheses, refuses

stone tub. However,

the hospital grounds lor exercise

to paint

sonable view

opinion

times

at

when he

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as

after his disastrous contact

feared he might lose Theo's support.

During the worst parts of his seizures he was incapable of drawing, paint-

when he recovered he was

ing or writing, but is

vain to look for signs of

There were changes in

madness

in his art at

as lucid as ever.

in his art or letters;

Saint-Remy, but these were anticipated

Other changes can be attributed not iel ies.

It

is

have reflected \t

or not.

choice of subjects and his technique should

at

times

this.

Saint-Remy he received almost no treatment

for his illness.

Kven

the director of medicine in the hospital. Dr. Pevron. had been a par-

ticularl) enlightened

man. which he was not, the necessarj knowledge

was not available

in

188*).

Twice

two-hour sessions,

a

week,

in

Hydrotherap) was the standard procedure. \

incent was -naked in a tub ol

water: his letters mention no other attempts

The olic

hospital

nuns. Once

at

a

as far hack as the

and griml)

Saint-Rem) monaster)

.

.

it

w Inch

is still

incorporates

at

cure.

in use,

is

a cloister

operated

l>\

Cath-

and chapel dating

The walled grounds include two long here are dormitories for men and women.

13th Century.

institutional

bars on the windows; the corridors arc

\2

ill

to insanity but to his natural anx-

scarcely surprising that he should have been profoundly wor-

ried, or that his

I

it

the pictorial problems he had set for himself long before his attack

and probably would have occurred whether he had been

il

Thus

there are none.

I

dim and appear

endless.

\

park-


like

enclosure

weedy and unkempt, contains

in front of the hospital,

a

circular fountain and a few stone benches. In the distance can be seen

hand

a line of wild, jagged limestone hills called the Alpilles: close at

are small fields, cultivated in Vincent's time but

The

air

extremely clear and very

is

sound quivers overhead

seem inclined

tients

upward

fallow.

largel)

a hell

is

struck the

and the slowlv wandering

for a long time

to glance

hen

\\

still.

now

though looking

as

pa-

new

for a

color in the sky.

v,. incent

was assigned not one room hut two. one

many

other for painting. There were

vacancies

in

which then had only about 10 occupants. In

ill

his

mens

first

"Though

scribed his surroundings and his feelings:

very seriouslv

for sleeping

the

patients here, the fear and horror of

and an-

dormitory,

he de-

letters

some

there are

madness

that

I

used to have has already lessened a great deal. And though you continually hear terrible howls

other

thev

and

cries like those of beasts in a menagerie,

people get to know each other very well and help each

in spite of that

when their attacks come on. When am working in the garden come to look, and I assure you thev have the discretion and manto leave me alone more than the good people of the town of I

all

ners

Aries, for instance. "I have a

little

.

.

.

[bedroom] with greenish-gray paper and two curtains

of sea-green with a design of very pale roses, brightened by slight touch-

These curtains, probably the

es of blood-red.

ceased patient, are very prettv

comes from the same source.

.

.

relics of

some

rich

A worn armchair

in design.

and de-

probably

Through the iron-barred window

.

Goven, above which

"The food

I

morning sun

see the

so-so. Naturally

is

it

rising in all

tastes rather

moldy, as

its

glory.

in a

.

I

Van

see a square field of wheat in an enclosure, a perspective as in .

.

cockroach-

infested restaurant in Paris or in a boardinghouse." (\ incent revealed,

months

later, that

he had been unable to choke

down

the unpalatable

hospital fare and had subsisted almost entirely on bread and soup: only in the

aftermaths of his attacks was he supplied with extra rations of

meat and wine.)

"The room where we room

in

some stagnant

tinguished lunatics

stay on wet davs

who always have a

is

more

village, the

like a third-class

so as there are

waiting

some

dis-

cane and traveling

hat, spectacles,

cloak, almost like at a watering place, and they represent the passengers.

am

"I thing.

I

again

— speaking

my

of

condition

heard strange sounds and voices as things seemed to be changing. tained at

— so

grateful for another

gather from others that during their attacks they have also

of the attack

first

I

And

I

did.

and that

in their

eves too

that lessens the horror that

have had. and which, when

it

I

re-

conies on

you unawares, cannot but frighten you beyond measure. Once you

know

that

it

is

part of the disease,

you take

had not seen other lunatics close up. free myself

W

from dwelling on

ithin a few

companied by paint.

it

constant

a guard

— was allowed

like

anything

else. If

I

to

." I

\

weeks after his admission

He became

it

should not have been able

I

to the hospital \ incent

to go out into the

ac-

count rvside to

fascinated with the Provencal cvpress trees, which

1

13


"are always occupying

them

of

that thev

mv

thoughts.

should

I

have not vet been clone as

of such distinction.

The tree is as beautiful And the green has a qual-

it

sunny landscape, but

a splash of black in a

is

It

me

astonishes

it

see them.

I

of line and proportion as an Egyptian obelisk. ity

make something

like to

canvases of the sunflowers, because

like the

one of the most interesting black notes, and the most difficult to

is

hit off exactlv that

I

can imagine.'"

Although "obelisk" suggests straight-sided symmetry,

incent in fact

\

saw the cypresses as writhing black flames spurting up out of the troubled earth. His treatment of

them

and so strong

so personal

is

presses todav seem almost his private property. brave, perhaps foolhardy artist

on page their

170.

No doubt

who would

that cy-

would be

It

a very

trv to surpass the painting

incent was attracted to cypresses because

\

wind-tormented shapes echoed his own mood. At Saint-Remv he

was powerfully drawn

under

to nature

bent and gesticulating trees,

hills

huge whirling clouds,

stress:

and ravines

alive

and turbulent. Some-

times he combined this agitation with quiet sadness, as in his painting of the garden at the asvlum:

"Now

the nearest tree

trunk, struck by lightning and sawed

up verv high and

somber giant in

lets fall

— like a defeated proud

benches, sullen box trees: the skv

A sunbeam,

the

man — contrasts, when considered it

h the pale smile of a last rose

Lnderneath the

the fading bush in front of him.

by the rain.

But one side branch shoots

off.

an avalanche of dark green pine needles. This

the nature of a living creature, w

left

an enormous

is

mirrored

is

on

empty stone

trees,

— yellow — in

puddle

a

ray of daylight, raises the somber

last

ocher almost to orange. Here and there small figures wander around

among the tree trunks. "You will realize that

this

combination of red-ocher, of green gloomed

over bv grav. the black streaks surrounding the contours, produces

something of the sensation of anguish, called noir-rouge, from which

my companions

tain of

in

misfortune frequently

suffer.

cer-

Moreover the

motif of the great tree struck bv lightning, the sicklv green-pink smile of the

B

')

last

autumn serve

flower of

early Jul v 1889.

Vincent guard)

felt

stable

to

confirm this impression.""

when he had been

asylum

the

in

for

enough

to \rles to fetch

to make a dav's round trip (again, with a some canvases that were still in storage tin' re. Be-

fore his departure he had a conversation u ith Dr. I'e\ ron. a

identlv did not believe that he tle

"must

in

good cheer and optimism. He

m\

wail a year before thinking

self

the evenings he was happil)

Shakespeare that he had asked Theo

(in

to

tell

you

godfather.

ll

are going to call

\

to

incent.

in

Of coursed know we must

well,

send him. Theo had then been

have

if

lit-

recent weeks he

ol

written to

just

centrated a good deal of our attention lateU

whom we

-

and

you

a

it

i>

incent: "I

that next winter, to-

baby, a pretty

will

\

on which we have con-

a great piece ol news,

ward Februar) probably, we hope

in

work was going

married lor four months and his wife had going to

w ho e\

Vincent

English) the histor) plays

hi>

reading

man told

cured, as the least

thing might bring on another attack."" However,

had had some small cause for hope

am now

two months.

little

kindK consenl

nol count

on

it

too

to

boj be his

much, and


that

it

may

that the

well be a

baby

but

little girl,

Theo and

I

Buoyed by such events of the previous days, ney

to Aries

other

fit.

been, but

cannot help imagining

be a boy."

will

made the

V incent

jour-

without mishap, but soon after his return he suffered animpossible to say what

It

is

its

timing

its

intriguing to those

is

immediate cause may have

who have made

a business, in-

Some

deed almost an industry, of probing Van Gogh's psyche.

of these

analysts hold that Vincent was jealous and upset by his brother's marriage,

and even more by the news of the unborn

He

ing in his letters to support this. if

rhild. But there

did in fact say, "I

am

noth-

is

so glad that

there are sometimes cockroaches in the food here, you have your

wife and child at home,"' a remark that appears at

first

glance to be

know

together vicious, sarcastic and self-pitying. But he did not

al-

the

use of sarcasm; he truly meant that he could abide the roaches because, in this best of worlds, his brother had cause for happiness. His idealism cannot be overestimated.

A,lthough Vincent never expressed

the slightest jealousy or fear that

he would lose his brother's affection because of the marriage or the

news of

a child,

is

it

likely that

he was afraid of something else: he

might lose his financial support. At any rate this was the opinion of a

man who was

know

in a position to

good deal of the family history.

a

Theo's child was, as his parents had hoped, a boy, and was given Vincent's

name. The "child," Mr. Vincent Willem van Gogh, was

still liv-

ing in Holland in 1969. Mr. van Gogh, a 79-year-old retired engineer,

pointed out that "the trouble with Gauguin in Aries started right after

Vincent heard from Theo that he intended to marry. Other crises came about after Theo's marriage, after the announcement that a baby was expected and after his birth.

It

must have passed through

he would lose his support, though he never mentioned

came about." Mr. van Gogh's point ticularly in regard to the

mind when he committed Vincent's vere one.

Had

and

that

never

it

well worth bearing in mind, par-

sequence of events and Vincent's state of

suicide.

attack in Saint-Remy after the visit to Aries was a se-

first

killed himself

is

mind

his it

not been for the presence of guards he might have

it

— apparently he tried to swallow

his

poisonous paints. In

his letters he could not describe his hallucinations in detail because he

could not remember them, but later he managed to

"When you at

the far end of a

come from

much, you see everybody

suffer

afar.

room

case,

immense arena

During the attacks

that all the persons

ways the

or an

see then, even

I

seem

to

I

recognize them, which

is

not

al-

and

to

in reality."

lucid again he was almost immobile. "It

left

my room;

I

ing prints after

Work, he

felt,

as

a great distance,

Several weeks passed before he recovered, and even

— two

this:

and

— the very voices seem to

come toward me out of

he wrote, "but for a long time

down

experience this to such a degree

if I

be quite different from what they are

set

at a great distance,

is

when he was

splendid weather outside."

months

to be exact

I

have not

know why." He resumed painting indoors, copyDelacroix, Millet and Rembrandt that Theo sent him.

don't

was

his salvation

and protection, "the lightning-rod

for

145


v

my

illness.""

But whenever he wished to paint he was obliged to ask per-

mission from the asylum authorities, a situation he found humiliating.

(There

no record

is

anyone

that

Saint-Remy liked

in

complimented

certainly did not. but later they

his

The nuns

his art.

memory

in their fash-

ion bv saving that he had been polite and submissive.)

As

Van Gogh produced one

his strength returned.

tures in

all

had occasionally grazed the subject of suicide

made no

threat of

"Every dav

it.

of the few pic-

During the preceding year he

his art that suggests death.

parable Dickens prescribes against suicide.

consists of a glass of

It

wine, a piece of bread with cheese and a pipe of tobacco. This

vou

plicated,

some moments ""W

ell,

it

that has

— oh. dear me.

.

.

will take

me:

the same, at

all

.

my

do

I

make contemptuous fun of

to

not com-

is

hardlv be able to believe that

will

which melancholv

not always pleasant, but

is

how

together

me. and vou

will tell

this is the limit to

but had

in his letters,

take the remedy which the incom-

I

it.

I

best not to forget try to avoid

any connection with heroism or martyrdom:

al-

anvthing

in short,

my

do

I

best not to take lugubrious things lugubriously."

many

In this particular painting, one of cultivated

field

was

that

from

visible

studies he

made of the

walled,

window, he presented death

his

in

warm light. "I am struggling with a canvas begun some days before my indisposition, a "Reaper": the study is all yellow, terribly thickly

a

painted, but the subject

vague figure fighting

end of

his task

manity might be the wheat he in this

death,

it

goes

way

its

is

reaping.

book of nature speaks of

most smiling"

...

the iron bars of a

In

spite of the

find

I

mood

together I'" al

in

people

models.

working on a painting (

iinoux, wife ol '

i|iin k

Afterward,

.1

1<>/>

li

\

nl

her

lived

an Cogh was

ml Madame owner, Gauguin

local cafe

aketi

when

\\ hile \

1

>"l'Ii

used the same

Vrles, the) often .1-

<

t

<

ruin

;n( «.i-

>

Rem)

.ii

H

I

had no one

to

ail

luding n

in-

il

krli

Ii

.ii

me

like this,

.i

In-

model

ol a

coward than

eat like

ries to regain the

Inr him, he

\

in

I

I

like this

\

incent's thoughts were by no

is

the

'al-

from between

m\

I

know

I

his

He wrote

am

dead

set

to

on

the opportunities of work-

which

ease, in

a

more

violent at-

cowardl) toward the pain and suffering

feel

ought I

to be.

to

a

limit

altogether

it

is

perhaps this \er\ moral

to gel better before,

makes

mv relations with the other paam now tr\im: to recover like I

commit suicide and.

finding the water too cold.

hank."

incenl remained

average of two

and

had no desire

two now. work hard,

man who meant

in

the as\

week despite

him

lor a year,

producing

cam ases

his recurrent attacks. In time,

at

an

however,

he became convinced thai his health was being made worse, not better, lis

n>

have sought

it

time does not return, but

for just this ver) reason, that

tients for fear ol a relapse

at

bottom, this time using

I

saw

on death or resignation. On the contrary,

cowardice which, whereas

made four more paintings of Madame Ginoux, in'

what I

nun forever destro) mj power to paint.

more

I

^.ii ni

— but

an image of death as the

is

survive and to continue his work became stronger.

a

)

onfined

sense that hu-

in the

But there's nothing sad

.

fixed continually

"During the attacks an

.

means

tack

\

it

.

.

of the painting.

ing do not return. Especially,

Gauguin and

.

will to

m\ work,

cell.""

Theo: "Life passes

DuniiL' the time

it

.

queer that

it

see this reaper

broad daylight with a sun flooding ev-

in

erything with a light of pure gold great

I

midst of the heat to get to the

him the image of death,

see in

I

and simple. For

fine

is

like the devil in the

his

continuing presence

in

Saint-Remy.

W

hen he asked the medical


director for

some encouragement about

bland, "Well,

his illness,

of the Catholic nuns superstitious and stifling

heavy with

it

he received on

I

\

a

us hope for the best." In addition, he found the faith

let

the atmosphere was so

began to have religious hallucinations, which

that he

lie

found particularly terrifying.

He

Increasingly his thoughts tended toward the north and home.

wrote more frequently to his 70-year-old mother

marked

how

that no matter

a peasant filled with

far

Holland and

in

"something of the Brabant

fields

and heath." His rec-

"During

ollections of his childhood were so strong that he could say,

my

illness

I

every plant

saw again every room

house

in the

at

Zundert, every path,

garden, the view of the fields outside, the neighbors,

in the

the graveyard, the church, our kitchen garden

magpie's nest in a

tall

the back

at

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; down

Theo's son was born. Vincent, unable to go to Paris exquisite painting as a

gift

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; you thing

And

"My work

was going

will see that I

it

well, the last

was perhaps the

was finished

it

1890,

to see the child,

almond branches

for him:

ering against a blue sky. But almost before

turned:

to a

acacia in the graveyard."

I n the midst of this period of melancholy reverie, on January 31, made an

re-

he had wandered he would alwavs remain

flow-

his illness re-

canvas of branches

in

blossom

most patiently worked

best, the

had done, painted with calm and a greater firmness of touch.

down

the next day,

like a brute.

understand, things

Difficult to

like that, but alas!" It still

seemed crucial

to

Vincent that he leave Saint-Remy, but he was

reluctant to risk living alone.

Paul Gauguin,

who was then

He thought

painting in

briefly of

Brittany.

\^

going to

hen

\

visit

incent

broached the subject, Gauguin replied with great restraint: "I must admit that

I

believe

it

would be possible, very possible, for us

gether, but only with a great

which

is

many

precautions.

Your

to live to-

ailing condition,

not yet completely cured, calls for calm and a

lot

of fore-

thought." To another of his friends, however, Gauguin said what he ly

"My

thought:

God! Not that man! He tried to

kill

Vincent did not press the matter. He asked Theo whether

make an arrangement with Camille

possible to

nevolent

painter

Impressionist

Pissarro seemed willing, but

And

this

to say at

was the case

that Vincent might have

befriended

might be

him

in

Paris.

"I don't think," said

home, where

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Madame

it

Pissarro, the wise and be-

Theo was dubious.

Theo, "that he has a great deal the pants."

who had

real-

me."

his wife

wears

Pissarro feared the effect

on her children. However, Pissarro advanced

another idea. In the small town of Auvers, some 20 miles from Paris

on the Oise River, there lived a very sympathetic man named Paul Gachet.

A

physician

who had some knowledge

was a friend of modern

artists (including

and indeed something of an printed his

own

artist himself.

of mental illness. Dr. Gachet

Cezanne

He had

as well as Pissarro) a press

on which he

etchings.

Dr. Gachet did not offer to take Vincent into his house, but did agree to find lodgings for

seemed an

him and

ideal situation.

to

supply such medical care as he could.

Vincent resolved to go to Auvers. and

it

It

was

there that he would die.

147


o,

'il

painting did not

consume

all

of

Van Gogh's

prodigious artistic energy during the last two years of his

W hile at

life.

Aries and the mental hospital at Saint-Remy,

he drew regularly, sketching scenes from the neighboring countryside. As with a mastery of style

As a

result,

much

all

he brought to his drawing

his art,

and an extraordinary technical of his graphic

work

is

every

facility.

bit as

strong

as his best oils.

Even when working

endow color.

his

He

in

Van Gogh's Drawings: Color in Line

monochrome, Van Gogh could

drawings with the depth, resolution and

feel of

did this through a skilled use of sinuous lines,

hatched strokes and patterns of dots.

One

landscapes in particular (pages 152-153)

is

of his

an inventory

of the ways he achieved his effects. In the foreground the use

<>l

short, broad lines

makes the

hillside vegetation

-rem close and coarse; the dappling dots of the soften

fields

he middle ground; the minutely executed

I

background also helps infuse the drawing with the visual richness oi a fine painting. But \ incents drawings were

\\ hile

he was

Saint-Rem)

more than displays of technique.

Cornfield with Reaper

a (lulling

\

at

in

the

<1\

al

uainic >piral-. curlicues

and undulating

awareness of the

the asylum

incent sketched the

cypress tree- that abounded there

(pages 158-159), a study lor the famous painting of the

same name. Indicates

.

lines that

characterize In- later style, lie

imminence of death, all

his

\\

Inch he saw as a reaper. [ne\ itably,

work sprang rom I

impulses. "\\ hat

is

his

overpowering ereat

drawing?" he asked

i;;

si

e

sta) at

Samt Keim

finding a turbulenl

\

seems l

ypresses,

Saint-Remy,

I

.

italitv in their

graceful shape and ma--.

that

am between what one feels and whal 6ne can do." I

drew, and painted. c\ presses often

during hi>

in a letter. "It is

working onesell through an invisible iron wall to

i\

H8* >


149


M

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'

Y* •

'

.' •

'

i.

<k; i

.

/ .

«*

s -;

Landscape with Railway Carriages, Telegraph Pole ami Crane, Aries. June 1888

151


'.

June 18KH


The Rock at Montmajour,

Juk 1888


'


The Fountain

in

the Garden

of the Hospital. Saint-Remy.

Mav

1880

15<


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IfiH


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Reaper, Saint-Remv. June 1889 -

Of


I()()


VIII "A terrible

and maddened genius"

Early

in

1890. before he

the asylum

left

Saint-Remy, Vincent

at

re-

ceived two pieces of news that might ordinarily have been encouraging to

any

artist. In

peared the

first

was informed sale

that

he ever made

The full

an avant-garde magazine. Wercure de France, there aparticle ever written

article,

one of

the

in

and onlv public

first

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; had been purchased at an exhibition

by a

young

brilliant

of praise. Aurier couched

fully

about him, and soon thereafter he

his paintings

it

in

critic

studied \ incents paintings in

Tanguvs shop and had made some

named

an extravagant

in Brussels.

G. Albert Aurier. warstyle, hut

he had care-

Theos apartment and

Pere

in

penetrating observations. "\K hat par-

works," said Aurier, "is the excess, excess

ticularizes all these

in

strength, excess in nervousness, in violence of expression ... in hi> fre-

quently headstrong simplification of forms, in his insolence in depicting the sun face to face ... he reveals a powerful being, a male, a bold

man, often brutal and sometimes ingenuously delicate ...

drunken

giant, better able to

move mountains than

an ebullient brain which irresistibly pours

its

lava into

the ravines

all

maddened genius, often sublime, sometimes

of art, a terrible and

tesque, almost always on the edge of the pathological.

believably dazzling.

a kind of

to handle bibelots,

He

is.

as

far as

.

.

.

Hi> color

gro-

i-

un-

know, the onlv painter who

I

perceives the coloration of things with such intensity."

Vincent was distressed by the that might be imagined. The bleak desolation of a mental hospital

is

life

the stark, linear composition of a

made

at

Saint-Remy. The corridor seems stretch endlessly,

to

archway

following archway, while a solitary

man

article,

although not for the reason

"maddened" or "patho-

did not object to

inside

reflected in

watercolor study Vincent

He

enters one of the scores of

portals that lead to the hospital's

logical, " but felt that

Aurier had been too flattering to him. Although

he thanked the young

critic

presses, he insisted that his

and offered him

own

a gift of a painting of cy-

position in art was "very secondary."

Others' work, he said, was of greater importance

Gauguin, for ex-

And soon he implored Theo. "Please ask M. Aurier not to write more articles on my painting ... it pains me more than he knows." any \ incents solitarv sale chanced to be made in Brussels because there ample.

barren, barred-window cells.

was Hospital Corridor at Saint-Remy,

June 1889

in that city

who made

an organization of 20

artists

and writers. Les

I

ingt,

great efforts to procure for their exhibitions the best can-

vases available.

One

of the organizers of the

1890 show

had seen

161


and through Theo had asked

V incents

work

tures. Six

were sent, including The Red

in Paris,

I

for

some

pic-

ineyard, the painting that was

sold. The caliber of the exhibition may be gauged by the list of artists who participated, among them Redon, Lautrec, Renoir and Cezanne. The buyer of Vincent's painting was herself an artist, the Belgian Anna

Bock. Although the price was only about $80, the quality of the show

and of the buyer's taste was high; the

Most of the

ingtistes

I

sale

seemed

a

good omen.

approved of Vincent's work or were diplomat-

one member took exception. Henry de Groux, a painter

ically silent, but

hung

of religious scenes, angrily refused to allow his pictures to be

in

the same hall with "the abominable Pot of Sunflowers." At a banquet cel-

De Groux denounced the absent

ebrating the opening of the exhibition. \

an Gogh as

iC

an ignoramus and a charlatan." This so offended Toulouse-

De Groux

Lautrec, a descendant of Crusaders, that he challenged duel.

The encounter might have been

to a

De Groux was

a rousing one. as

scarcely taller than Lautrec and could have had difficulty coping with

the furious "little blacksmith wearing pince-nez." However, the other artists

sign

In the spring of 1890, at

and

about the time Theo

his family visited \ incent in

Auvers,

Vincent

W

illem, her

I

Thhe information about the Vincent

in

van Gogh (below)

followed neither the career of his father nor

becoming instead a

steel-

seems

— Mr.

have had a disastrous

to

after the effect

Van Gogh works

van Gogh

in

in

the 1960s turned

the works over to a foundation and the

mother and

a sister:

some success, and read the er's life: success

to praise

up

his

is

it;

as

I

is

how

my work

heard that

article in question,

this

Then he wrote

for several weeks.

"As soon

museum in Amsterdam

house them.

to

feared at once that

I

it

had been

in his

childhood,

drawing after his parents had spoken well of

when he had torn

it.

on May

After he had recovered enough to travel

1890

16.

He

cent took an overnight train from southern France to Paris.

on making the journey alone,

a sick

It

I

things nearly always go in a paint-

about the worst thing that can happen." His reaction

remained what

out incident.

to his

was having

Netherlands government agreed to build a

new

on

Saint-Remy. Almost immediatelv he suffered another attack,

from which he did not recover

should be punished for

which comprises the

largest single holding of

existence

coming soon

sale of his painting,

article,

industry engineer. Heir to the magnificent family collection

re-

ingt the next day.

four-month-old son. As

\ incent \\ illem

that of his uncle,

from Les

news of the magazine

Theo's wife, Johanna, was photographed with

an adult.

intervened and no blood was shed. De Groux was permitted to

to

— Vin-

insisted

Theo's great concern, but arrived with-

was then that Theo's wife

man," she wrote, "but here was

first

saw him. "I had expected

a sturdy, broad-shouldered

man

with a healthy color, a smile on his face and a very resolute appeart

j|

ance." Her impression was that Vincent was stronger than Theo. suffered from a chronic kidney disease and was often

who

unnerved by

dis-

t

"Then

putes with his maddeningly stodgv employers. She continued:

mm

i

w

•'

Theo drew him into the room where our lently the

r/

tears in

t

two brothers looked

heir e) es.

Then

\

at

3J

a^^~^

^t~~

much lace. Iiti le "He staved with

too

ives,

cradle was.

.

.

.

Si-

the quietly sleeping baby

both had

me and

said, point-

on the cradle. 'Don't cover him with

sister.'

us three days, and was cheerful and lively

which he used

ing loo.

The

shirl sleeves

The

162

-

all

the

time. Saint-Rem) was not mentioned, lie went out by himself to DU) ol-

.

HH

DO)

incent turned smilingly to

ing to the simple crocheted cover

^^^^^

little

first

to eat

ever) da) and which he insisted on our eat-

morning he was up

looking

at

ver) earl)

his pictures, of

walls were covered with

them

in

and was standing

in his

which our apartment was

the dining

room

.

.

.

full.

The Potato


room the

Eaters; in the sitting I

great Landscape of Aries and the

on the Rhone. Besides, to the great despair of our fenune

ieic

\ighl <lc

me-

nage, there were under the bed, under the sofa, under the cupboards in

the

little

spare room, huge piles of unframed canvases; they were now

spread out on the floor and studied with great attention."*

While Vincent was

in Paris several of his friends,

came

Pissarro and Pere Tanguy,

them

fatigued him.

including Lautrec,

The effort of talking to he might make some paintings

to visit him.

He had thought

that

but he became too agitated to work and was anxious to

in the city,

Theo and Pissarro had made

carry out the plan that

for him. Accord-

ingly he departed for the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, about a half hour's

journev northwest of Paris, taking with him a

letter of

introduction to

the physician and friend of artists, Dr. Paul Cachet. \ lot

incent found Auvers "very beautiful, having

of old thatched roofs ...

among other

things a

the real country, characteristic and pic-

is

it

turesque." The village has changed but

since his time.

little

The

tree-

shaded houses are scattered along a slope that ascends from the slow-

moving Oise River; above them there

is

wheat

a vast plain of

fields,

A number of artists have been atAuvers, among them Daubignv, Guil-

constantly patrolled by flocks of crows.

charm of

tracted by the quiet

laumin. Cezanne and Pissarro. Vincent found lodging for about 70 cents a

day

at a

small inn

— today the Cafe a Van Gogh — where on the third

under the eaves, a

floor,

cubbyhole

maintained

is

in his

one cloudy window high up on the slanting

ory. Dark, with

barely space

stifling

enough

row bed on which he

to contain a chest of drawers, a table

wall,

memit

has

and the nar-

said to have died.

is

Dr. Gachet struck Vincent as "rather eccentric/"

Then

in his sixties,

the doctor had an abundance of red hair, a long, gloomy face and a fond-

ness for controversial causes

— among them socialism, free love and cre-

mation. Another of his interests was a Society for Mutual Autopsy. into

which he

tried to recruit all his friends so that their hearts

brains could be studied after death.

A widower, Gachet

and

lived with his

teen-age son and daughter in one of the largest houses in the village, sur-

rounded by

a half-dozen dogs

and as many

cats, rabbits, pigeons

and

ducks, as well as a goat, a tortoise and a peacock.

Aollowing

who

his initial reaction,

him

repeatedly invited

about his illness

house for dinner and reassured him

— "He said to me besides that

thingelse became too to lessen its intensity.

tainly

Vincent became fond of the doctor,

to his

much .

.

come, however up

.

me

for

to bear,

Well, the

to

now

if

the melancholy or anv-

he could easily do something

moment when

I

need him may

Informing Theo that Gachet was "very

like

you and me,"

sensed sadness and resignation beneath the eccentricitv of the

made

a portrait of

him (page

expression of our time." tor's

I 7r> )

When

cer-

all is well.""

in

\

incent

man and

which he caught "the heartbroken

he discovered a printing press

house he produced the sole copperplate

in

the doc-

in all his

work, an etched

at five. \

an Gogh worked

portrait of his host.

Drinking in

little,

going to bed early and rising

Auvers with almost

as

much

zest as

he had

in

Aries before his

first at-

163


He

tack.

painted the houses and gardens of the village, the flowering

chestnut trees, the Gothic church and the great plain of wheat, turning

many canvases

out so

them

store

(about 70 in 65 days) that

was also staying

at

it

was impossible

to

room. A Dutch painter, Anton Hirschig, who

in his little

the inn, recalled that Vincent piled his work "helter-

skelter in the dirtiest

corner one can imagine, a sort of hovel

little

where goats were usually kept.

It

was dark there, the walls were of

brick without any plaster, with straw hanging from them.

.

.

And

.

every day he brought new ones in; they were strewn on the floor and

hanging on the walls. No one ever looked

On

a

Sundav

in

June Theo and

for a picnic. "'Vincent

met us

at

at

upon carrying the baby and had no

the animals in [Gachet's] yard.

all

journeyed out from Paris

the train," wrote Theo's wife, "and he

brought a bird's nest as a plaything for his sisted

them."

his family

We

nephew. ...

little

rest until

lunched

He

in-

he had shown him

in the

open

air,

and

af-

terward took a long walk, the day was so peacefully quiet, so happy.'" In the days following the visit Vincent's health continued to im-

prove and he was optimistic.

He thought again make a series of

in a Paris cafe,

and proposed

to

Gachet's press.

He even

that he

Madagascar

guin to

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

felt

Y,an Gogh

did not

Theo and

in Paris.

in his last days.

Theo was obliged

become deathly

child had

to travel with

was very near

its

for

on

Gauhis

all

end.

himself during an attack of insanity; he seemed

kill

who saw him

nic in the country,

would be able

life

work

plates to be printed

Gauguin should ask him. But

if

appearance of renewed well-being his

lucid to all

of exhibiting his

to

About a fortnight

after the pic-

send him disturbing news. The

ill

from drinking the "poisonous" milk sold

his wife

were exhausted: "You never heard any-

thing so grievously distressing as this almost continuous plaintive crying all

through many days and many nights."

Theo

now

also reported that his dispute with his employers,

called "those rats," had reached such an impasse that he

ing of resigning his job and attempting to establish

independent dealer. This would involve

on reduced income. But he did his best

live

"Don't bother your head about

member

that

vou are

in

You

me

we

for a long time yet, for

fire,

is

and we must be have to battle

shall

have to

or about us. old fellow, but

in

all

re-

the knowledge that

good health and busy with your work, which

much

all

to reassure his brother:

what gives me the greatest pleasure

already have too

he

himself as an

they might

risk;

whom

was think-

is

admirable.

good shape

our

to fight

lives rather

than

eat the oats of charitv they give to old horses in the stables of the

great. shall \

We

still

shall

draw the plow

until

our strength forsakes us. and we

look with admiration at the sun or the

mcent was not reassured; he went

that distressed

moon."

to Paris for a family

conference

him even more. Although the baby's health had im-

He returned to Au"And the He went to Dr. Gaall. prosped grows darker. see no happv future at chet's house and quarreled with the well-meaning old man lor no ver) proved, the three adults were unable to talk calmly. \er~ in a bleak

mood and wrote

a letter lull ol

pessimism

I

good reason. Gachel had

L64

a

painting b\

\rmand Guillaunun which

\ in-


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

much admired, and

cent

which the doctor had not yet bought

for

a

frame. Vincent thought the neglect was barbarous, and loudly upbraided

Gachet. "I think we must not count on Dr. Gachet at all," he wrote

Theo. "First of

man

that since Gachet his

he

all,

sicker than

is

own madness no

.

Now when one

.

soothing

at a

our existence

is

is

not a

fragile.

when

trifle

Back here,

I

but to

letter,

"when

slight thing," replied Vincent, it

is

You

menaced

see,

of us feel our

all

still felt

at its

very root, and

not so much, but a

you

felt

me

my

What can

my

steps also are wavering.

the same

little just

we

very sad and con-

generally try to be fairly cheerful, but

I

little ef-

for other reasons also

tinued to feel the weight of the storm which threatens you. be done?

blind

He implied

was mad, further association with him might cause

daily bread in danger; feel that

.

into the ditch?"

fall

to return.

Theo's wife then tried her hand fect. "It is

am.

I

leads another, don't they both

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that

too

life

feared

I

being a burden to you,

to be rather a thing to be dreaded." In the last sentence lay

more than "a

the heart of the matter: he feared, far

little," that his de-

pendence on Theo had become intolerable.

He resumed work, "though gers." skies,

The and

the brush almost slipped from

my

fin-

subjects he chose were "vast fields of wheat under troubled did not need to go out of

I

my way

treme loneliness." In one of his three Crows (pages 176-177), his anxiety

is

last

to express sadness

paintings,

and ex-

heat Field with

If

obvious. In an alarming inversion

of perspective, the horizon appears to be rushing at the spectator as

though

him; nothing promises hope of escape.

to engulf

On Sunday,

July 27, 1890, he began a letter to

peated his long-held belief that "through tual production of

catastrophe.

.

.

some canvases

Well,

.

my

that will retain their

own work,

reason has half foundered because of the use?"

He

Theo

I

am

it

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that's

my

risking all

which he

in

me you have your

calm even life for

right

.

.

.

did not finish the letter, but apparently thrust

pocket and walked out of the inn toward the wheat

re-

part in the ac-

it

in the

my

and

but what's it

into his

With him he

fields.

carried a revolver, but he also carried his easel, perhaps not having

made any decision as to when or even if he might shoot himself. It is not known where he obtained the gun; he may have borrowed it from one of the townsfolk, explaining that he wished

%

incent believed that

life

earth was supposed to be

is

flat.

endless. "At

Well, so

it

is,

to shoot at crows.

one time," he

"the

said,

even today, from Paris

to

Asnieres. But that fact doesn't prevent science from proving that the

earth as a whole are

still

is

spherical.

No one nowadays

at the stage of believing that

birth to death. Yet the probability

much more

denies

life itself is flat,

that

is

life,

too,

it.

Well

or only

the sight of stars always sets dots on a

map

set

know

a

hemisphere of

me dreaming just

me dreaming

it

the dark ones on the map of France?

I

.

.

.

as naively as those black

wonder, be

We

we can

before death

of towns and villages.

these points of light in the firmament,

we

.

we know."

In another letter he wrote of "the eternal question whether life

.

spherical and

is

extensive and capacious than the hemisphere

see the whole of

.

the distance from

Why

should

less accessible

than

take a train to go to Tarascon

165


Rouen and we why cholera ...

take death to go to a star.

motion

buses and trains

or

like ships,

I dont see modes of locohere below, while if we die peacefully .

.

.

Anyway,

or cancer should not be heavenly

we make the journey on foot." not make the journey on foot, but neither would he make with all possible speed. At a few hundred yards' distance from the

of old age

He would it

inn he entered a farmyard, stepped behind a

He

self.

gun

did not put the

to his

domen. Then he walked back

way up

pile

and shot him-

to the inn, falling repeatedly but

make his The landlord discovered him

to

manure

head or his heart but against his ab-

King on

there.

bed with his face

his

turned to the wall, and sent for help. Dr. Gachet thought trv to extract the bullet but told

"Then

have

will

I

to

do

asked for the address of it

him:

to

ceive

came

ut-

and

hen Theo arrived

rows.

draw mi; of

\

arm ing

in

If

\

The brothers

The

much he could

follow ing afternoon Dr.

ool)

"lie was an honest a L!re,u arti-t. lie

to give a eulog) at the

-ii

stammer a few words, man." Gachel

good

talked for most of the day. although

Theo

not crv.

did

I

it

.

.

.

He

illusions lett.

Things are sometimes too hard,

inquired most urgently about vou and the boy

had not expected that

onlv we could give him a

little

life

would bring him so many

courage for

to live!

Dont

him and

sor-

be too w or-

vet his strong

nature eventually cheated the doctors."

A,

art that

he sought

re his survival."

.

o'clock on Tuesday morning, nearly 36 hours after he had shot

1

himself. Vincent said in Dutch. "I wish

The to

I

could go

home

now."" and

was 37 years and four months.

died. His age

said, "'and

had onl) two aims: humanity

was the

will in

"Do

\u\cr-

burial service, bul the physician wept so

which

and

for the

incent said.

once before things looked desperate

t

It

his pipe

Paul Gachet made a

Gachel "a- called upon

art.

smoked

an Gogh's bod) stretched out on

the deathbed.

and

sleep,

send a note to his wife: "Poor fellow, fate has not given

to

said that he

ried; 1890. w hile friend- were

did not re-

word more.

he feels so alone.

for the funeral. Dr.

Theo

his

him much and he has no

of Julv 29.

office.

incents bed and complained that he

During the night he did not

affair.

found time

<la\

send a message to his

morning. In the interim the gendarmes of Auvers

to the inn. stood beside \

of everybody.""

Sometime during the long

hen Gachet

\ incent. \^

in Paris. \ incent refused to give

own \^

.

to

had committed a breach of the peace. He replied that his crime was

tered not a

V V

to

unwise

it

that he might very well survive.

over again."" said

all

Theos home

was necessarv

it

until the next

it

it

him

able

still

room.

to his small, suffocating

priest of

Auvers denied

borrow one from

a hearse to the suicide:

a neighboring

\

illage.

\

number

it

was necessary

of \ incent

s

friends

.

came

Vuvers for the funeral and one of them, the painter Kmile Ber-

to

nard, wrote of

it:

"On

the walls of the

room where

canvases were nailed, forming something

la>t

like a halo

la\

his

all

around him

through the brilliance or genius which shone from them

and rendering his death

his bod)

e\en more deplorable for US

artists.

On

the coffin a simple

white drapers and masses of flowers, the sunflowers he loved SO much. yellow dahlias, yellow flowers everywhere.

you remember, symbol of the of

men

and

stool fin.

.

.

.

\t

his

light ol

ol art.

was

his favorite color,

Near him also

brushes had been placed on the

in the

Some

Gogh, who adored Struggle for art

()

|

hi> easel, his folding

floor in fronl ol the cof-

the people in the assembl)

his brother,

who had always

and independence, sobbed

if

hearts

three o'clock the bod) was removed. His friends carried

the hearse.

loo

works

a> well as in

It

which he dreamed

wept.

sustained him

pitifully

it

to

Theodore van his

in

without cea-e.

.

.

.


We el imbed

Outside, the sun was ferociously hot.

ing of him, of the bold forward thrust

projeets that always preoccupied him.

We

of us.

arrived at the cemetery, a

fresh tombstones.

under

ing,

on

It is

he was lowered into the grave.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the day he could

was too much to

still

the Âťreat

new cemetery dotted with

still

maybe. And then

have loved

Who would

not have eried

his liking to prevent us

moment

at that

from thinking

grief; for

When

he received.

serve Vincent's art and

weeks he could not even reply

furnish you

memory. He wrote

the material which

all

a very steady

young critic

to the

Albert \u-

altogether authentic as

is

I

I

could

have had

correspondence with him." Aurier was glad to accept the

task but could not begin

duce the biography.

Theo

to the

he recovered, his sole thought was to pre-

suggesting that Aurier undertake a biography "for which

rier

thai

have lived happily."

Thheo was shattered by letters

ol

good he has done to each

ol the little

the hill oi Vuvers talk-

given to art.

a height overlooking the fields ready lor reap-

wide blue sky he might

a

fie lias

Two

immediately. Nor was he ever able to pro-

it

years later he died at 27 of typhoid fever.

also attempted to stage an exhibition of Vincent's paintings. Ap-

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; his

re-

far too strained for that. Instead

he

parently he did not even consider having lations with his

employers were

it

in his

own

gallery

approached the great dealer Paul Durand-Ruel and asked for space. Du-

who had

rand-Ruel,

earlier

been driven to the verge of bankruptcy

while supporting such unsalable artists as Monet and Renoir, perhaps did not fusal

now wish

Theo

to risk

tried to set

promoting yet another. After Durand-Ruel's

up the exhibition

own apartment. But he was overwhelmed by the finest paintings from Vincent's

cope with the task he had a

last,

re-

in the only place available: his

enormous

the problem of selecting legacy.

While he

tried to

violent quarrel with his employers, re-

signed from the firm and suddenly lost his mind.

At

his

first

madness appeared mild. He became obsessed with

car-

rying out projects that had been dear to Vincent and sent a telegram to

Gauguin, who was painting

money

in Brittany:

"Departure

to tropics assured,

He then attempted to where Vincent had hung his

follows -Theo, Director."'

Le Tambourin, the cafe

rent the hall of

pictures three

years earlier, and tried to revive the idea of a society of artists. Soon,

however, he became violent and had

to be locked up.

Within a short time Theo recovered and

his wife took

him

to Holland.

sufficiently to be able to travel,

There he

fell

into a

profound depres-

sion from which almost nothing could rouse him. His physician read

an

article

brother's

about Vincent

name

did he

1891, less than six

in a

show

months

Dutch paper, but only

He died on Januar) 25, He was 33. As to the cause of

his illness, the physician noted simply that

in

life full

Theo

suffered from '"ov-

of emotional stress."

Holland. Twenty-three years later his widow had

remains transferred to Auvers and placed beside

his

him

the sound of his

a flicker of attention. after Vincent.

erstrain and sorrow; he had a

Theo was buried

at

\ incent's.

The

graves have a single cover of ivy. In the gentle seasons of the vear strangers

come

falls

to

beside

drop yellow flowers there; one scarcely fades before another it.

I6"i


A he sporadic Van Gogh

of illness and despair that finally drove

fits

to suicide altered neither the quality

quantity of his

art.

Even

nor the

after the incident at xArles,

when

he sliced off part of an ear, Van Gogh worked himself mercilessly, his painting interrupted only temporarily.

Last Rush of Genius

As

the fury of each attack passed, he became as lucid as ever, painting landscapes, portraits, self-portraits (right) and writing scores of clear, logical letters. Although he was distraught about his lapses, he his art;

he wrote Theo, "You

knew they had not ruined the canvases

will see that

I

have done in the intervals are steady and not inferior to the others." Ill

and alone, Van Gogh found refuge

in

work.

He

painted prolifically during the year he spent in an asylum at

Saint-Remy, near Aries. Returning north in

May

1890,

He then

settled in Auvers-sur-Oise, a

artistic strength

done while he was

recuperating from his mutilation in Aries.

little

town some 20 miles northwest of

expended

Paris,

his last burst of creative energy.

himself to exhaustion,

where he

horizon placed exactly

Van Gogh completed some 60

his first severe attack of

suicide, his output

mental

are

heightened by the blood-red

Pushing

paintings in two months; in the last year and a half of his

from

self-

The eyes

piercing, their blue cast

level.

life,

and

lucidity are evident in this selfportrait,

he visited Theo, his wife and their newly born son, Vincent, in Paris.

Van Gogh's

illness to his

all.

at their

this portrait

shows Van Gogh's incredible artistic

how

was prodigious, totaling some 300

Above

detachment; no matter

painful

it

might have been,

he was able to see himself as he

paintings and several hundred drawings. that of a

Aries,

madman. His mature

became even

color, fluid in line

lf)H

style,

Nor was

his

which flourished

work

was

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a haunted, driven man.

at Self-Portrait with Pipe

freer; his last paintings are brilliant in

and pungently expressive.

Bandaged February

Ear, \rlc~. 188<>

and


169


Road with Cypress and Stars, Saint-Rimy, Maj 1890


itfMi«il»ifri

HIT

jaBHMI Thr

D

uring his stay

Gogh often spent

at

the asylum at Saint-Remy,

his days

Van

brilliance of pink

roaming the nearby

countryside painting landscapes.

One

(left),

reveals

the style that he had evolved: swirling brush strokes, thick impasto, dynamic composition. this

work

as a

from down there,

moon

Van Gogh, fond

remembrance of the south, described

a letter to Gauguin: "I

still

it

have a cypress with a star

a last attempt

— a night sky with a

without brilliance, the slender crescent barely

emerging from the opaque shadow cast by the earth a star with an exaggerated radiance,

if

you

in the

\enr 4uvers, July 1890

ultramarine skv.

where some clouds are hurrying. Below, a road bordered

of the last pictures

he did there, Road with Cypress and Stars

and green

f'lnin

like, a soft

with

tall

yellow canes, behind these the blue Lower Alps,

an old inn with orange lighted windows, and a very

tall

cypress, very straight, very somber." of in

\ an

Gogh continued

landscapes

to

prove his mastery of

when he went north

to

Auvers. The painting

above displavs a vast panorama, the

tall

grass in the

foreground emphasized bv long slashes of paint, the fields, trees

and clouds

in the distance

Even working quicklv. he was as the extraordinarv detail

still

sharplv defined.

the careful craftsman,

on the following pages shows.

171


=3M

y 7I

/*

t

-ft ' •

>

<

.'sT

{

\ (

'>

| \

|

/»>

/ i

\


7

v--

cf'7\

km

;

\

i

Wf tim dm

»

'

^


The

A, I

Olivers

mind from

it-

Van Gogh worked

furiousl) to distract Ins

torments. During this period, he painted

the Gothic church

at

Vuvers (above), an electric stud)

with a cobalt-blue >kv and acid-green grass.

One

of

Gachet,

a

Van Gogh's few friends physician

at

who encouraged

continue his work. Dr. Gachel to \ \

-

(

lunch <U

June 18 lX)

kindly nature appealed

an Gogh but his eccentricit) startled him. \-

incenl w rote Theo, "lie certainl) appears to

ill

liurrs.

and confused as von or

tavers was Dr.

Pissarro

the artist to

port rail

I."

\

and Cezanne, Dr. Gachel 1>\

\

an Gogh. Of

i

lie

me just

friend ol the painters eagerl) sat lor a

result (above, right

).

as


Portrait

Vincent

said,

"Now

I

have a portrait of Dr. Gachet with

the heartbroken expression of our time."

Indeed, Van

Gogh saw much

in the

He

painted the

man

wan, vulnerable

own

resting resignedly

elbow; the books of an intellectual

lie

on the

him

is

a sprig of fo\glo\ e. a medicinal

herb. But the focus of the painting

physician that reminded him of himself and his suffering.

in the glass before

of Dr. Gachet, tuvers, June 1890

on an

table,

and

is

the doctors

sensitive face. His ultramarine coat, seen against a

background of

hills

tired, pale features

painted in a lighter blue, sets offthe

and transparent blue eves that

the compassion and the melancholy of the man.

175

reflect


Yâ&#x20AC;&#x17E;

incenl w rote

Theo

thai he

had found no

difficulty in

expressing "sadncs> ami extreme loneliness" in the three paintings he created, one of which

Signs

<>l

In- griel

and

ln^ fears

turbulentl) emotional work.

I7(>

The

is

abound sk\

is

last

shown above. in this

a deep, aniir\

blue that overpowers the two clouds on the horizon.

foreground

is

uncertain

path seen in part

in

an

ill-defined crossroad.

the foreground runs blindK

oil

\

The dirt

both

sides of the canvas; a grass track curves into the wheat field

onl\ to disappear at a dead end.

The w

heat

itsell


——.-

/(

rises like

an angry sea to contend with the stormy sky.

Crows flapping over the tumult swarm toward the viewer. Even the perspective contributes to this effect; the horizon

rolls relentlessly

forward. In this picture

Gogh painted what he must have

felt

Van

— that the world

.—,-...,^

heal Field inth Crows, \u\er~. Julv 180(1

was closing

in on him and his roads of escape were blocked, with the land rising up and the sky glowering

down. Created

in the artist's deepest anxiety, the

painting nevertheless reveals

Van Gogh's power,

his

expressive use of color and firm sense of composition.

177


(1)

Antwerp, November 1885-February 1886

("))

N.

o

more

Gogh ihan

fitting

January-February 1888

epilogue ran be provided lor

this series

es in his style

178

Paris,

<Âťl

and

self-portraits,

his

(2) Paris,

\

an

pari) study (1)

which reveal the

growing self-awan

riess.

(6) Aries,

\n

(2, 3,

I.

5).

September 1888

shows the Dutch influence of dark, earth]

tones. His palette

grew lighter and more intense

The hues

ol

^rles

reminded

\

in Paris

an Gogh

"I

1887


(3)

(7)

Pans. 1887

an apparition emerg

biguous

September-December 1887

<8l

Saint-Renn or Auvers, 1889-1890

Japanese prints and he painted himself as a Buddhist monk (6). After his mental breakdow n. he saw himself as

(4) Paris.

background

(7).

following page)

His is

held in check bv a

Saint-Remv or Auvers.

last self-portrait (8.

and

detail

a powerful studv of a fevered

monumental

effort of will.

179

late 1889-1 89m

on the

mind


7

f

\

1


/

(in

Gogh's ruthless honesty pours forth from his final self-

portrait,

completed some months before his suicide. Tormented

by recurring moments of insanity, the artist himself

and painted a

resolutely viewed

tortured soul battling desperately against

the terrors that surrounded him. His face

is

stoically set, his lips

firm, his eyes hypnotic in their determination.

The shock leaves caused by the

loss

of

I

incent were

disastrous; they shattered the health of his brother Theo,

destroying his sanity as well.

II

ilhin six

dead. The extent of Theo'' s despair wrote his mother soon after

how grieved one last

and which

I

is

I

.

.

.

incenCs death: It is

letter

.

.

.

Life

Oh Mother!

lie

is

a grief that

write

will

I live;

that he himself has the rest he

was such a burden is

he

"One cannot

certainly shall never forget as long as

as often happens, everybody talents.

revealed in a

nor find any comfort.

the only thing one might say

was longing for.

is

months he too was

to

him; but nou;

full of praise for his

was so

my own, own brother."

HI

1 -

*

#

JfJJz

*


\

APPENDIX

Chronology: Artists of Van Gogh's Era 1875

1800

1800

L950

"n

1950

187.

r

HOLLAND

<;kr\i\ny

johannjongkind: josef israels

18:

E 1838-1888

\

MATTHEWM \RIS WILLEM

1858-1925

EMILNOLDE

1867-19.56

IS

[JYONEL FEININGER 1871-1956

1839-1917

FR\N/\1\RC

RIS 1814-1910

\1

MOOCH

VINCE Nl'\

[}EHENDRIkBREITNER

VRNOLDBOECKJ

1857-1

H 1827-1901

1

FERDIN iNDHODLER 1853-1918

1872-1911

KEES VAN DONCEN

PAUL KLEE

1877-196$

n

SP\I\ PICASSO

JUAN ORIS

1881

1881-1966

MBF.RTOBOCCIONI

1

GINOSEVERIN1

JiAN-BAPTlSTECAMILLE COROT

EUGENE DELACROIX

1796-1875

DEI

JULES BRETON

JOHNMILLAIS

1878

18

EDWARD

1AVANNES

828-1882

!

18^91-1896

RN :jONES

Bl

1833-1898

U Si Rl\

1821-1886 1821-1898

WILLIAM A DOI.PHt BOUGUEREM

GUSTAVE MOREA

18 7-1910

DANTE ROSSETT1

1819-1877

ADOLPHE MONTIC XI IS

WILLIAM HUNT

1811-1875

CHARLES FRANCOIS DAI BIONY

PIERRE PIA

If

ENGLAND

812-1867

JEAN-FRANCOIS MILLET

GUSTAVECOURBET

1\N] 1881

GIORGIO DICH1R1CO

1808-1 1179

THEODORE ROUSSEAU

1882-1

18a3-1966

AMEDEOMODIGI

1798-186

HONOREDALM1ER

CUSTi AVKLIMT 1862-1918

1825-1905

OSKAR KOKOSCHKA

1826-1898

188<-

ECONSCHIELE1890-19lb

\Si '-1906

NIHNVM

,'

CAMILLE PISS ARRO

1830-1903

PAULGUSTAVE )0RE EDCAR DEGAS

EASTERN

834-1917

LEREI

It

AUGUSTE RCDIPN

CLAUDE MONET BERTH E M(

MARCCHAGAU

1840-1917

STERENOIB

georceinness

\RISTI

OEM

\MNS10W

I1D\

1859-1891

M.BERT

Ml 1.01.1861-1941

DER

R":

1817-1917

WILLIAM HARNETT

HENRI DE TOl LOUSE-LAUTREC

1834-1903

EK 1836-1910

THOMAS E. S 1811-1916 MARY CAS5 VTT 1845-1926

1848-1903

JOHN

1861-1901

HENRI MATISSE 18691954 MAI RICE DENIS

1830-1902

james McNeill WHISTLER

1841-1919

PAl LSIGNAC 1863-1935

(

I

18!5 -1894

albert bierst ^T

1841-1927

1844-1903

CEOPCES SFIR\T

1887-

united states

ISOT 1811-1895

PAULG;au CLIN

SI l87^-lo:

1840-1926

HENRI ROUSSEAU

1866-194(1

1871-1957

CASIMIR MALEVICH1878-1«.

JEANBA PTISTE CUILLAl MIN PIERRE-AK

V

1864- 1941

CONSTANTIN BR\NCl

1840-1916

»l

\NI) Rl

KANDINSKY

FftANKKUPKA

1839-1899

i

ODILON REDbN

ROPE

El

VON JAWLENSKY

JSSH y

JE 1839-1906

ALFRED sisli SIS :y

1863-1914

1832-1883

JULES CHfiREl 836-1932

PAUL CEZAN

V

MUNCH

ED\ VRD

EDOUARDMIANET 1832-1883

Van Gogh's

1879-1940

vi \

CARLO CARRA

-

1887-1927

FRANCE

1800

1880-1916

SWITZERLAND

1853-1890

fllETMONDRlAN

P \RI.0

1817-1935

CORINTH

LOV

1837- 1899

\I\I

1837-1887

MWI.IEBEfcN \NN

1911

jacob maris

ANTON

hans von ma EES

19-1891

S

CHII

I

MM

1870-1913

EORGESROI M IT

1871-1958

ALBERT MARQL'ET

1875-1947

18is

NGER SARGENT

HASSAM

r

ICE

PRENDERGAST

ROBERT HENRI J(j)HN

1856-1925

1859-1935 1861-1924

1865-1929

\I\RIN 1870-1953

JK 187;

predecessors, contemporaries

1950 and

successors are

1800

grouped chronologicatt) by country:

1875 The bands correspond

to tin- artists

I960 life

spans.


BlbllOgraphy \

',N

COCK -HIS

Auden. W. H.

(editor!.

ARTâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; HISTORICAL BACKCROIND

an Gogh,

I

Gogh.

an

I

paperback

in

WORK

LIFt *\D

Cabanne. Pierre.

*A vailable

A

Dutton

Self- Portrait* E. P.

Translated

Mary

by

I.

&

Co.. Inc..

1%3.

Prentice-Hall,

Martin.

Goldwater, Robert Inc..

in

Modern Art*

rev. ed. \

in

mtage Books, 1967.

Europe, 1880-1940. Fenguin, 1967.

Rewald. John:

1963.

The (Complete

Letters of

I

mcent van Gogh, 3

vols.,

2nd

ed.

New York Graphic

Society,

7

Cooper. Douglas.

an Gogh Drawings and

I

II

alercolors.

Macmillan

&

The Museum

he History oj Impressionism.

Post-Impressionism:

1959.

de

Pnmiltvism

J.,

Hamilton. George Heard. Painting and Sculpture

From

an Gogh

I

to

of

Modern

Gauguin. The

Art. 1961.

Museum

of

Modern

Art, 1956.

Co.. 1955.

la Faille, I. B.:

L'Oeuvre de

mcent van Gogh. Catalogue raisonne, 4

I

vols.

Les Editions G. van Oest,

PALL GAICUN

Pans and Brussels, 1928. 1

intent van Gogh. Translated by

Prudence Montagu-Pollock. French and European Pub-

Elgar. Frank.

I

an Gogh* Translated by James Cleugh. Frederick A. Praeger, 1958.

Erpel. Fritz.

I

an Gogh

Bruno

Translated by Doris Edwards.

Self-Portraits.

in the

South Seas. Translated by Reginald Spink. Doubleday.

1966.

Cassirer.

Gauguin: Paintings, Drauings.

Prints, Sculpture.

The

Art Institute of Chicago, 1959.

Goldwater, Robert. Paul Gauguin. The Library of Great Painters. Harry N. Abrams.

1964.

Estienne. Charles.

an Gogh. Translated by

/

S.

J.

C. Harrison. Taste of

Our Time

Series. Al-

bert Skira, Lausanne. 1953.

Hammacher.

A. M., Genius

Harry N. Abrams.

\agera. Humberto.

and

I

Disaster:

I

I

The Ten Creative )ears

oj

I

mcent van Gogh.

A

Psychological Study. International Universities

The

(editor).

in Colour.

li

ork of

Letters

of

I

I

an Gogh. Philosophical Library, 1953.

W yck

Brooks. Indiana University

Press, 1965.

Perruchot. Henri. Gauguin. Translated bv

Mark

Inc.. 1959.

Levmarie. Jean (editor). Paul Gauguin: Hater-Colours, Pastels and Drauings

Paul Gauguin's Intimate Journals. Translated by Van

an Gogh/ Albert Skira. 1968.

1%7.

Press.

Press.

Faber and Faber, London. 1961.

mcent van Gogh:

Nordenfalk. Carl, The Life and

The Johns Hopkins

Huvghe. Rene. Gauguin. Translated by Helen C. Slonim. Crown Publishers.

mcent van Gogh. McGraw-Hill, 1963.

Inc.. 1968.

Levmarie. Jean, Qui Etait

Gray, Christopher, Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin. 1963.

Graetz, H. R.. The Symbolic Language of

Roskill.

Bodelsen, Merete, Gauguin's Ceramics. Faber and Faber. London. 1964. Danielsson, Bengt, Gauguin

lications, 1939.

Humphrev

Hare. Perpetua Books. London,

1963.

mcent van Gogh. Zontana Library. Atheneum Pub-

lishers. 1963.

Schapiro, Meyer.

invent van Gogh.

J

The

Library of Great Painters. Harry

N. Abrams.

HENRI DE TOLLOLSE-LAITREC

1950.

Tralbaut.

an Gogh:

I

an Gogh

I

mcent van Gogh

(

invent van

1 Pictorial le

Vanbeselaere. el. I

Adhemar. Jean

Mark Edo:

(

Biography.

The V

ry N.

iking Press, 1959.

Gogh

W

Drenthe.

in Zijn

alther.

De Torenlaan. 1959.

Harry N. Abrams,

Anturrpsche Periode. A.J.G.. Strengholt. 1948.

De Hollandsche Periode

in

Het

II

erk van

I

incenl van

ork of Toulouse-Lautrec. Translated by

Daphne

W

oodward.

De

Sikk-

Dortu. M. G.. and Ph. Huisman, Lautrec by Lautrec. Translated by Corinne Bellow. Trie

\

i-

king Press, 1964.

Gogh

I

Choice oj Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of the

Gogh Foundation. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 1968. I

fl

Inc.. 1966.

Cooper. Douglas (editor). Toulouse-Lautrec. Harry N. Abrams. Inc., 1956.

incenl van Gogh.

1937.

incenl van

His Complete Lithographs and Dry points. Har-

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Bouret. Jean. The Life and

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m

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incenl van

Jourdain. Francis, and Jean Adhemar. Toulouse-Lautrec. Pierre Tisne. 1952.

Perruchot, Henri. Toulouse-Lautrec. Translated by

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Humphrey

Hare. Perpetua Books. Lon-


Acknowledgments For their help

the production of this book the author and editors wish to thank the

in

lowing people and institutions: Wilhelm

Man

vana: Countess

vttems, Naucelle,

F.

Haab

Vrntz, Director, Art Archive,

Weyron; Cynthia

fol-

pper Ha-

1

Photograph and Slide

(barter.

Library, and Harriet Cooper. Public Relations Department. Vrt.

New York;

V

C.

The Metropolitan Museum ol De Groot, Secretary. Rijksmuseum KrbTler-MuUer, Otterlo;

J.

Enno Develing, Conservator, Hague Municipal Museum, The Hague; Jean Devoisins, \dunnistrateur Delegue du Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi; P. A. Frequin, Administrator. Hague Municipal Museum, The Hague; Mme. Guynct-Pechadre. Conservateur. Service

Museum

of Fine Arts, Bos-

ton; P. C. Le Grand. Oegstgeest; E. K. Meyer, Director, Vincent \an

Gogh Foundation.

Photographique. Musee du Louvre. Paris; Deane Hancock.

Amsterdam; Municipal

Register.

Dordrecht; Municipal and State Archives. Haarlenf;

Nederlandse Bank. Amsterdam; Reproduction and Photo Department. Stedehjk Museum,

Amsterdam; Jean-Marie Roghi. Secretaire General Adjoint. Maine

MaunceRouquette. Conservateur des Musees

The Hague; Richard

Museum

Tooke. The

L.

Commerciale de

reau. Chief. Section

d'Arles, Aries; G.

la

Modern

of

J.

d'Arles. Aries: Jean-

Nieuwenhuizen Segaar.

New York; Germaine TuPari-; V. W.

Art.

Phototheque des Musees Nationaux,

van Gogh. President. Vincent van Gogh Foundation, Laren; Van Gogh Department. State

Bureau for Art Historical Documentation, The Hague; Vincent van Gogh Foundation.

Fishing Bonis on the Beach at Saintes- Maries,

Amsterdam. Thequotationson pages 97. 98 and 99 were reprinted from Paul Gauguin's Intimate nais, translated

Nan

by

\\

June 1888. A

Jmir-

yck Brooks, with the permission of Liveright, Publisher-. New

appears

detail of

© 1955. Liveright Publishing Corporation.

York, copv right

Van Gogh's

on the

in color

painting

slipcase.

Picture Credits The sources

appear below. Credit* for pictures from

for the illustrations in this hook

left to right

de Goede. Amsterdam.

SLipi vse: J. J.

are separated hy semicolons, from top to bottom by Hashes

— Tom

86

Los Angeles.

END PAPERS; hront: Stedelijk

Museum. Amsterdam.

chapter 5:

Museum. Amsterdam.

Gogh:

88 — Yves Debraine. Pictorial Biography b\

I

— Stedelijk

8

Museum, Amsterdam.

— From

Ian Goph:

Pictorial Bi-

i

ography by Mark Edo Tralbaut. published by Viking Press. New York. 1959, cour-

Anna Scholte-van Houten. Lochem — Norton Simon,

tesv Mrs.

Fullerton.

10

Hague.

9—Stedelijk

California.

— From

The Complete

Museum.

Letter-, at

I

Amsterdam

incenl van

Museum

Inc.

— Andre

Gogh,

\ ol.

I.

Pictorial

Biography by Mark Edo Tralbaut. published b\

Anna Scholte-van Houten. Lochem.

York. 1959. courtesy Mrs.

22

Museum. Amsterdam.

delijk

Museum. Amsterdam.

Stedelijk

CHAPTER

28— J.

2:

J.

— ©Rijksmuseum 25. 26.

de Goede, Amsterdam.

— Fernand Hazan. Editeur.

sterdam.

36

— Scala.

42

J.

de Goede.

J.

27-

J. J.

Amsterdam

New

From Ian

11

New

\ iking Press.

17

through 21— Ste-

Kroller-Muller. Otterlo.

23. 24

Museum, Amsterdam.

Museen

Staatliche

zu

Berlin.

41

National

W atson-Cuptill Publications, courtesy Metropolitan Museum of 43— Agraci; Yves Debraine— A. J. WyArt — Stedelijk Museum. Amsterdam; Agraci. att, courtesv Philadelphia Museum of Art: J. J. de Goede. Amsterdam — J. J. de Goede.

Galerie. East Berlin:

Amsterdam

— no credit. chapter

44— J.

(2).

46

S. Crandall.

Scholte-van Houten. Lochem.

6H

d'Albi. bi.

to.

CHAPTER delijk

4:

67— A.J. 68

of

Yves Debraine.

from Black Star.

81

-

Pictorial

J

\rt.

73

70

— A.

—No

J.

Bulloz.

Museum

74 82.

Agraci.

83-

J. J.

65

77

Realites

1

12-1

Museum

©

1963

timore.

ramus

de Goede. Amsterdam; Rob-

J.J.dcCoede.

\rt Gallery.

Sculpture

and

Ce-

120

1963.

— Roger

— Art

\ iollet

Mucha. Prague.

Dan McCo\ from Black

126

Museum

Metropolitan

ol

130

photo.

\rt

Museum

134. 135

chapter

of Art photo

149

Otterlo.

Muller,

chapter

— Gallery

1391 of

— Courtesv

173

176. 177

tom

Art.

169

— Scala.

right.

J. j.

Crandall

Museum.

151

1

Metropolitan

Ki

© Rijksmuseum

New York

150

Stedelijk

Museum

174 — Eddv

158.159

Art,

179— Yves 180

162

Art.

178

-J. J.

185

166

I

Pic-

1959. cour-

Cliches

Yves Debraine. S.

171.

kramarskv

de Goede. Vmsterdam. except bot-

J. J.

170

Courtes) Mrs.

175

Berlin. Na-

—From Van Gogh

Peter Pollack.

Debraine;

— Agraci.

of

Museum. Vmsterdam.

— Staatliche Museen zu

New York.

van der \een.

de Goede. Amsterdam.

Kroller-

Kunstarchiv Vrntz. llaa». Oberbayern. 155.

Mr. and Mrs. Leigh B. Block, Chicago.

0. Vaering, Oslo: Agraci.

129 131

Associates.

Mark Edo Tralbaut, published by Viking Press, Ne« York.

Frank Lerner.

— Collec-

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buf-

151

Anna Scholte-\an Houten. Lochem

Mrs.

Nationaux.

124

BobGomel.

127

The Brooklvn Museum.

© Museum of Modern

160

8:

British

Bibliotheque Na-

Boston.

van der Veen.

F.ddv

12

Modem

Island School of Design, Providence.

torial Biography b) tes)

Sculptim

of Fine Vrts, Bo-ton.

Frank Lerner.

136

7:

Museum

Vrts,

Star.

— Robert

132.133-

National Gallery of Art, 'Washington, D.C. falo.

— From

Institute of Chicago

MuseumofFine

123— Bibliotheque Nationale

tion Jiri

119

Kunstindustrimuseet. Copenhagen.

Paul Gauguin bv Christopher Grav. published bv The Johns Hopkins Pre--.

oi

tional Galerie. East Berlin.

Ste-

105—J. J.

Yves Debraine.

Ill

118— From

an

I

Y ork.

Museum. \m104,

107

—Yale University

of Art photo.

Cam-

Dan McCo)

Mala.

New

ramics of Paul Gauguin by Christopher Gray, published by The Johns Hopkins Press. Bal-

©The

of Art

Stedehjk

Tate Gallery, London. 114, 115

Debraine.

Metropolitan

116

6:

13— Yves

103

of Fine Arts. Boston

110

Art Institute of Chicago.

Amsterdam.

172.

Museum

Museum

106

Stedelijk Museum, \msterdam.

Abbenseth Pho-

Edin-

From

95

b) \ iking Pre--.

97-

Yves Debraine.

In2

Bouter.

156.157

54- Courtesy Ludwig

Scotland.

of

Caller\

Museum, Amsterdam.

Stedelijk

152. 153

of Art.

Wyatt, Philadelphia

credit.

Robert S. Crandall.

64

94

Anna

Institute of Art by permission of

Neu York.

108.109

chapter

The National

Mark Edo Tralbaut. published

Biography b)

1959. courte-\ Mrs.

Countess M. \ttems.

courtesy Philadelphia

Museum. Amsterdam.

Ian Gogh:

Hem de

-

de Goede. Amsterdam.

Rhode

Frank Lerner.

56— Bibliotheque Nationale. 59 Musee t>2 61 — Museum of Fine Vrts, Boston. Musee d'Al-

Modern

\A vatt.

de Goede. Amsterdam

J.

Collection.

Edna. Lausanne.

63—© Museum 66,

Sirot

—©

New York,

Press.

— Courtauld

53— Courtesv

bridge University Press.

55— Scala-

51

47

50— From

Mark Edo Tralbaut. published by Viking

Charell.

45— J.

de Goede. Amsterdam.

de Goede, Amsterdam.

J. J.

48— Robert

3:

J.

101

tionale.

35— Stedelijk Museum, Am-

Stedelijk

sierdam.

Baltimore,

de Goede. Amsterdam.

31 through

37.38

The

published by

York Graphic Society. Greenwich, Conn.. 1959— Hein de Bouter. Gogh: A

of Art.

Frequin.

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Norton Simon.

-

Anna Scholte-van Houten. Lochem.

1959. courtesv Mrs.

6

1:

85

Bulloz.

Scott, courtesy

87 — Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Buffalo.

burgh.

Back: Stedelijk

(IHPTER

84-

ert Crandall Associates.

de Goede. \msterdam

J. J.

— Fotograf

de Goede. Amsterdam.

1&5


Index Numerals in italics indicate a picture ofthe subject mentioned. Dimensions are given

Academy

124

of Arts. Paris.

Lautrec),

\esculape (journal I. 99 tfierthe Hath

Combed) (Degas), 29W

Christ ianit)

141, 143, 144, 145. 150, 163. 168; hospital

I

\9ht

\

on canvas),

(oil

(Gauguin), 22

charcoal

16

/

v

\ 12'

\t,

\

u

& ^

1

1

Cornfield u

x 29. oil

Company. Cincinnati. Ohio.

15'

Reaper,

ith

1

7%

pen and

x 23.

Cup

171

1

(

Mendes

Irani

ipris ibook.

rt

Gauguin). 75-76

tvemteoj Poplars, 21W

with bathing

The, 19 \ 24. pen

(Gauguin).

girl

1

Gauguin- — ceramics: cup with bathing

\uenen

at

36%

x

1

18'

\

.

tn

inter.

11

Gauguin

on

oil

treatment

batata

1

son). 127

Gauguin. Eugene Henri Paul.

in his

10,

7.

12.

Darrcl (Gauguin),

ht. \ 12'

1

I

I

:

carved and painted.

i

(Toulouse-Lautrec), 3'9" x

diam..

Bathers, The, (Renoir), 3'9!4" \ 5'7",

on

oil

in

and

•" t

I

ou

)

(Gauguin), 38'

29'

\

-

Happy

fir

ill

II

linden

i,

wood

relief.

123

Bedroom

at

28W

tries,

book by, 75: a "borrower"

18; bourgeois existence. 77.

1

on Hiva Oa.

Portrait oj the

trtist*s

18

1

pre-Tahiti painting sale. 125; display at

tfiertheBadH

Room

15'

\

Gogh, Mr-. Theo

by, 75-76; disastrous second

of

Woman Having

I

oil

i.

i

18.

1

1

I

in

18-1 19;

1

his familv. 120-121;

>

expensive

women. 86;

clearing of his estate. 127; final first

final

Breton, Jules, 15

Durand-Ruel, Paul. 167

85.

Breton Village in the Snou (Gauguin), 127

Diirrr, \ll.m ht.

80. 85.

on Gauguin,

I

,'i

"'

(6

j

oil

ml Gauguin

on

Yjthu de Pans (newspaper), 120

anvas, 85

i

(Gauguin), 16

i

I

i

nlr des

Beaux-

trts, Pan?.,

Edward, Prince

ol

W

ales, 5

rower, 118. 119

Eiffel

Terrace at

,<if-

Vight,

\2

25

t

l,

oil

(Seurat),

UHx8

.

blai

r

k

2<>

Paul

10,

I

12,51, 77,80, 120,

"i. oil

on

l...

I

Kao.60.64

(

ha

l

Koo, the Female

«l«

rr.

126; mistress in

i.

22

r\"". the

x

Fen

\H()

on canvas, 131

Gogh,

Field

of Poppies,

f.

'

Gogh's

-/" /

<

hair

/"

x

21'

(Monet),

an Gogh b\

<>7,

.

\

l'»

25

.oil

,

16!

(

town,

.i>il

on

i

I

oil

on louse

srdboard, 64 foi

louse

on canvas, 90,

\nn.i Cornelia

i

184, tlipcase

Carbentui van

watercolor, /"

Fountain I'*

v

I

in the 1

i.

I

prolific writer. 7t>; r.iii^c ol In-

Garden oj the Hospital, The,

pen and reed

pi

I

"yeUom house**

17; repatriation

134; sculpture

al

from Tahiti.

123-,

and rchd>h\.

second Brittanj

visit

137, 138,

work.

1

18;

17;

Be in Love and You U

iff

goddess (Hiva) and votive

IP)

Gauguin

watercolor: Pape Mori Mysterious

12"

ater).

It

girl.

118;

onderful Earth

It

123

/,

Gauguin, Mette, (Gauguin's wife). 77-78.

(hair. 25

_

\

28'

_,

on can\as.

oil

97. ///

Madame,

/ ((>

11

Gleaners, The, (Millet). 125 Gorlitz,

P.C,

12

Goupii&Cie.,9, Grille d*£goul

10. II.

14,29,33,

19

(Sewer Grate), 55

1

8,

17

Cuerard, Jules, 90-91 ^ vette, 53, 55,

Wound.

51.

62 !(>.!.

1<>1

Meyer

83

de.

Ml.

W

Harvest, The, 8'

\ 36, oil

on canvas, 102,

104*105 Hiroshige, 69; Ohashi Bridge tn the

Ham. 70

121. 128.

Histoires \atureUes (Toulouse-Lautrec), I2'»

118.

I

/</.

(1894), 125.

symbolism

I laaii.

Hals, rr.m-, 70

Hirschig, Vnton,

Van Gogh, 97.99, 110-111. 1

ellou

\\

self-portrait, 82-83, 118. strained

relations with ,l 17,

)

Hart rick, Archibald, 50, 75; sketch of

128; self-assurance, 76, 78.80. 117. 118. 1 II *;

The

Girl uith a Fan. 12')

moon

heo van

131; return to Tahiti (1895). 125. 128.

/

Fishing HiMit\ on the firm h at Saintes- Maries,

Flowers

l^

presage ol his South Sea work-*.

reaction to

pen and reed pen, />

i.

><>.

ho are we?

Paris-

;

hV)-87; pre Tahiti sale ol paintings, 120;

BnVBS, 12

),

l

it

19;

rah it i, 124; photos

and paintings bought

from.'

carved and painted barrel. 119;

Guillaumin,

(Gauguin),

the Sea)

neon, Feiix, 72. 73-7

Malroi

h.ii.

(

I

|

anvas,

*

.mi

36, oil

(By

Fishing Boats at Saintes- \iaries-de-ta- M»r, |5\ lite,

'

Miti

tc

x

i

MUiontheCouteure

neat Pontoise, 12

Chair and the Pipe,

I

atata

Sermon

120

Marquesan mistress,

ol

uith \fango

— sculpture: bust of son £mil.

Guilhert.

ol, 77. /_'/, portrait ol \

t

147, 162, 163, 171;

oung

-reliefs:

ater).

II

9.

17. 127: loneliness in Tahiti.

1

omen

\\

after the

Grout Zundert, North Brabant, Holland,

Oa, 126-127;

a primitive.

sum

Be Happy, 123; Pape Moe (Mysterious

123; market lor his paintings, 126;

produced paintings

on

Candide (book, Voltaire), 138, 139

hi

1

Una

96; post-Tahiti sale ol paintings, 121; I.

rt,

.

on Martinique. 78;

painting stvles in Tahiti. 131

anvas,

h.ilk

Japanese prints on,

18; interlude

Pans. 124. 125; not

1

Etten, Holland, 30, 32

Chn

1

legend of,

72

Edison, ["nomas tlva, 72

ht.,

marble, 118

.

18; influence of

entanglements on

Brittany Landscape with Swineherd

V

1

health.

journalistic carter in lahiti. 126; legal

83, 85.

86

i

Gauguin

)

Gladwell, Harry,

.11

i

going.', 131-135;

(,ii!iiii \.

19-

1

124. 126. 128. 134: an Impressionist. 80.

Brittany, influence of,

ue

Gogh. 76. 83:

120; on Hiva Oa. 117. 126-127;

18

here are

subjects. 128. 131; friendship with \ an his theories of art.

incent

I

Les

121. 125. 121. 125-126

Dujardin, Edouard, 63

1

here do

II

Dordrecht, Holland, 12

90

I

ue come

II

Tahiti. 122. 128; fondness for Polynesian

bridge, The,

i

(Jacob H resiling uith the Angel), 8b;

GauguuCs

in

Drenthe, Holland. 36. 37

Sandro,

Self-Portrait

Miserable*), 82-83; Still Life uith Three

(

Breda, Holland, 71

Botticelli,

**7;

Division ism, 73, 7

f fraii

Spirit of the

Gauguin. Isidore. (Gauguin's uncle), 121

visit to

paintings

The

I.

uith 4xe,

Gauguin — woodcut: \ave \aie Frnua

Mataiea. Tahiti. 122, 128;

fascination with Breton

15

Breakfast), The. (Signac), 35

on canvas,

Paris world's fair.

existence

Delacroix, Eugene. 39. 72,

Bonnal, Leon, 53

Van Gogh

De Croux, Henry. 162 Degas, Edgar Hilaire Germain. 40. 42, 49.

Dining

Bonger, Johanna, 137. 162. See also Van

death

17, 127:

Aries. 99. Ill, 117. 118. 137; description

162

\iim.i,

1

(

Puppies. 81; Tahitian

Gauguin

of his daughter, 125-126; departure from

118. 121;

Grandmother, 13

contemporary description

19; critical reaction to Tahitian

paintings. 124; death of,

Her Hair Combed). 12

Bernard, £mile, 12,51,83,94, 100, 166;

1

artists.

Man

f)8;

Vleyer de ffaan. 83; Portrait of

('hnst, 87;

Daumier, Honore, 49. 56.

on canvas.

\ 36, oil

companionship of other

83. 124, 125; of.

131; The Gate,

).

atching), 132-133; Portrait of

11

Blossoms. 129;

Daubigny, Charles Francois, 163

108-109, 110

Bock,

on

Darwin. Charles Robert. 72

canvas, 13

Be

4'1 1". oil

canvas, 66-67

/9

/

77. 80;

Manao Tupapau

Belle Angele.

van Gogh,

Marquesas. 127; change to painting career. Rouge. The,

ce at the Moulin

the Sea

130;

'.

I

background and

128. 147. 167; burial

I)

By

La

from the Symbolists, 120.

19;

work.

(

116;

1

80; in Brittany, 80. 83, 85. 86. 94-95.

66

18

Dead

1

te Miti

81: la Orana Marta (I Hail Thee, \lary

at suicide. 126. 134;

by \ an

of.

— drawing: The Arle'sienne, I4h — paintings: At the Pond, 13;

Brittany Landscape with Swineherd, 85;

youth, 77. es, special

girl,

mug. 118

119; --elf-portrait

Cauguin

28Y

124; arrival in Tahiti. 121. 128; attempt

pen and reed pen.

:,

nonprimarv

18: use of

1

colors. 122

20%, pen and pencil, 37

x

i

164. 171; aid

iVu x

Gogh, 144, 149

Avril, Jane. 55. hi. 65,

pencil on

;.

Gauguin, £mile. (Gauguin's illegitimate

18

stoneware. IP)

lih.

15.. pen and black

\

'

Gauguin. £mil. (Gauguin's legitimate son),

da, 13 1

21

x

123, 125-126

149

on, 17

Provence, 18S

51,69.73.94-95. 117. 137. 146, 161.

ypresses, 2

.

in

unexpected legacy, 124;

123. 132-133;

canvas, 84

and reed pen and black chalk. 148. 152-

tuvers-sur-Oise, France. 147. 163-167. 171.

Gogh on His

Gauguin. Aline. (Gauguin"s daughter). 121.

153

\uncr. G. Albert. 161, 167

78: tupapau (ghost) as painting theme.

166.

unhappy man.

Gate, The. (Gauguin).

50, 53

Craufrom \fontmajour,

iborg

incent van

I

164-165.

163.

pink paper, back end paper

on canvas,

Corot. Jean Baptiste Canaille, 49. 70

56

147.

Garden of the Parsonage

Courbet. Gustave,

on

oil

canvas, t3

Dr. Paul.

171. 175;

Garden

174

Costa. 10'

Uachet.

in Tahiti.

reed pen. 148. 158-159

x 19,

123; syphilitic. 121. 124. 126. 127;

Tahitian marriage. 122-123. 132; taught

Deathbed. 166

Church at liners. 37

canvas), 146

Pond (Gauguin),

the

It

28

x

(oil «>n

\rlesienne, The,

sketch.

Marquesas. 127;

in

:

Cormon. Fernand.

he. 41 .".

25

Francesca, Piero della. 74

model. 116, 23. 132-133; trip to Taboga,

Color wheel. 73

95

at, 94,

an Gogh.

I

by Pissarro. 77. 80. 120; Teha'amana as

Christien (Sien), 32. 33-34, 36. 37

139; "yellow house"

18. 137. 138.

by

Freud. Sigmund. 120

72

116

124, 125

France, 89-99, 100, 101115, 118. 137.

1

of.

Childhood drawing of flowers, pencil. 10

Winah (Gauguin's Pans mistress).

99.

colored pencil. 60

10,

Chicago. Art Institute

Ingelus, The, (Millet). 125

at,

x

1

1

Chevreul, Michel-Eugene. 72. 73

23%, pastel on

v

paper. 12

tries,

nless otherwise specified, all listed art works are

Cheret. Jules, 56

onion Having Her Hair

II

t

i

I

height precedes width.

in inches:

oi fox,

\

l'»l

8S. lithographs lor book b) Renard,

HivaOa, Marquesas,

117. 120-127

Hokusai,69, 118 Hospital

(

otruior at

Sunt tiem\.

gouache and watercolor, Hugo, Victor,

3839

Hun Bmans, Jons Karl. |20

/'*'

21

>'»


1

1

Orana

1'/

Maria il limi

(Gauguin

I4%x 34

i.

Wary)

Thee*

Mirbeau, 0< lave, 120

on canvas, 116,

.oil

123

Mistral, effects of, 91,

Modern

Impressionists,

t2,

10,

of a

Interior

hromatu

(

7

77,90, 167:

72.

Restaurant* 18

22%,

\

on

oil

69-70, 79

*5,

Japonaiserie: Ohashi Bridge

the Rain,

2H

Japonaiserie: Trees

on canvas,

/

Paume

in

19

/

.

\ave Save Fenua

\

*.

I

I

Re,/

I

18 . woodi ut, 12

%

I

Neo-Impressionists, 7 Sight

afe. The,

t

27

19

the

12

9,

36%

Rhone

I

ineyard,

162

Thr. 19

Rembrandt van

Rijn,

ou louse-l autre

2>

1,

31

x

-.

10,39, 70. 118. 115

7.

on canvas,

23!

\

i

\Jha\tn Bridge

on

6.5

1

I

romage,

I

,

x

and

\

Stat

(Hirosbige),

I

drawings

sanitarium, 60; contemporary evaluation.

f

72

57: defi

Madame, 92,

93, 138

Kvland. Henry, 75

hi^ art a report

W 21

\

.

Oaint-Remy. France, mental

reed pen,

..

142-U1,

136, 137. 140-141,

front

Pole and (nine. 0'_

12

\

j.

pen and reed

Simultaneous Contrast

oj

oj Colors, The,

(book. Chevreul), 72

Le Courtier

k

24

Leonardo da

Parsonage

I

(wood

it

at

Suenen,9Vix 14%, pencil and

oil

hi. 62,

63

at the

rsula, 10-11, 12

oj

ision

t

in.

1

1

\\.

12.

1

|book. Sutter

I.

I

Wan

1

uith ixe (Gauguin),

27% x 36

i,

oil

on

Manao Tupapau It

t

The

1,

i>(

28

-

x 36'

i,

oil

on

the

28%x

Dead

36!

..

oil

on

oj a

it

1

18; Portrait

Mataiea. Tahiti. 122-121

Mauve,

Men

ure

Won. tie

32-33. 31.

80

Mill on the Couleure near Pontolse oil

oman (Manet),

(Cezanne),

on canvas, 12

Millet, Jean-Francois, 31, 118, 125. 115

MiUiet, Lieutenant P.. 92. 107

20. 12. 51

.

the

69,

.

i

75,

.

illu-tra'

s

\ 13,

Ut Revue Hlnni

he. 62;

Ihmn

Le

Jnponats.

e,

Toulouse-Lautrec

paint

gs

i

note Clown, 64; The

1

Moulin

I

h nee at the

'roulue Entering

/.

Hint;

U oman

13 . charcoal, black

[oulouse-Lautrei

pastel: Portro

Room

\

Tupapaus (Tahitiai

_

Break

Vlfred, 19 I

-

uncle). 9.

10.

11. 12 i

x 31

oil

l,

on cam

I

trill...

V

26

x

22

on

oil

i,

1

x 19%, oil

.

\

Ufe

Portrait of the

Portrait of the

23%,

oil

on

Oil

Valentin

l>rsosse (Valentine the

le

rnclia Carben

Puppu

on wood. 81

Remh and

Ivy, The.

.

24%

x

18

.

.

pen.

i|

I

7

.

-

Hospital Garden, 2

watercolor.

1

147;

pen

and reed pen. J56 in thr

-

tode),

x

M

Ii'>

Strieker. Jan. 31

Stmi\ of Three Hands,

Grandmother

i25

trtist's

on canvas, 8

9

x

-

Boneless

u tth Three

Stone Steps

9

trust's

(Bernard), 2ft

2 1%,

Stone

de Haan (Gauguin

ink.

uith Potato*-*. 18

canvas, 25 Still

23

\

\ight on the Rhone, 9

Starry

on wood, 83

and Indian

:

>

21% x

Kao.

' "lograph,

mixture." 72; simplicity, i

ha- 1

new

Im Poseuse de Fa*

1;

'

invitation to a part\. 59; The Jo,

Dii

1:

drawings:

prmale Ch»

Toulouse-I^u tree— lithographs: animal

Cafe-Concert, 12:

t

and grandeur,

The Dintng

Still Life

Portrait of Lieutenant Milliet,

oil

169

Sower, The, (Millet), 31, 125 19

Portrait oj the irUsCs Father, 13 x

France (magazine), 161

''>"*,

(Tahitian king), 121

Portrait oj Dr. Cachet,

20%,

self-taughl

101, 102

Portrait oj Meyer

Matisse, Henri. 75

138.

his color disc. 73i interest in

Sower, The, 25

on canvas, 107

oman, 12

>/.

Montmartre, 53; use of alcohol.

in

Toulouse-Lautrec

Sorrow, 34

canvas, 175

12. 56, 77.

on canvas,

b.nr. 2'

Societ) lor Mutual \utopsy, 163

black chalk crayon, \2

canvas, 123. 132-133

Manet. Edouard. 40,

\

studio

Gog

Suzanne Valad

54,56, 57,58,60

ami Bandaged

criticism ol hi- work. 73-1

Sisley,

liners. Thr.

Portrait oj a U

Spirit

atching) (Gauguin

Pomare

u ht..

18

7.

life in

-ieal collapse

57. self-portrait, 7

Signac, Paul. 10, 51. 72. 71. 75. 78. 139;

Landscape

17. 163, 174;

Divisionism

canvas, 122. 130, 131

1

t

paper. 33

Point illism, 10.69. 71. 73. See also 124

oil

t,

82S3

mug (Gauguin),

and white chalk, and pencil on tinted

14

72

canvas. 171. 172-1 73

\I allarme, Stephane,

on canvas,

Sien and Child,

Chaponval, t3

Plata near

ph\

Sien. See Christ ien

\5

I.

.'

57. photograph of, in costumi

10

1

1

i

Shepherdess and Flock, The, (Millet), 125

//

Commodore Mat hew. 69

78.80.85. 120.

Luxembourg Museum, 56

17

dignit)

Pissarro, Camille, 10. 19.51-52.72.71.77.

Lou\re. 39

oil

.

74; "optical

20%,

\

on canvas.

19. oil

Perspective frame, pen, 3

Toulouse-Lautrec,

35

techniques. 72-7

on canvas, 88

lithographed part* invitation

from. 59

73. 74; early death. "2; education. 72.

Phenomena

of, bj

\

\

Blossom "Souvenir de Mauve,"

in

Peyron, Dr. Theophile,

use

118. J56, /57.

f'2.

52: relation- vsith

76.78.01. 119;

Lessens, rerdinand de. 78 .

58. 60,

Self-Portrait ( Les Miserables

Sen rat. Georges,

Tanguy,25x .

at,

Montmartre. 51-55. 58: not "immoral."

Self-Portnut with Pipe

ouis, 72

Peach Trees

2

I

h

\-

li

52. 58, 162: portrait of ^

Sell-portrait

Pau ura a Tai (Gauguin's Tahitian mistress),

Pere

1

Segatori, tgostina, 14, 70

stoneware,

Lithograph \

I

24

120

relief).

Perr)

161-162

ingt (artists' organization),

Lo\er.

x

*

black chalk, washed, 22

\ inci, 39, 7

126

".

ater) (Gauguin). 14

It

watercolor). 31

Peasant " oman Tying a Sheaf, IT'•.

(cafe), //. 15, 70-71. 167

Guepes{ The " asps), Tahitian journal,

I

I

28% x 23%,

126

Les

i

125. 127

The Smile/, Tan man newspaper,

l

LeTambourin

Les

M<>ei Mysterious

9

Pasteur,

colored lithograph, 63

.

\

pen. 36

57

h rancais (journal),

Le Divan Japonah (Toulouse-Lautrec), 31>

Im Sourire

I'

Papeete. Tahiti. 121, 122. 125. 128

pen. 151

Lau

">

alette, pen,

Pope

163

Landscape with Railum Carriages* Telegraph

hospital

160, 161. 162. 168

Panama. 78

on canvas, t3 tries,

X

1

51.

55, 58;

life,

lithographs. 56,

15

Salles, Pastor Frederic, 137.

\

Van Gogh, on

57. 58; hi- u.irk w

endpapet

Chaponval (Pissarro), 21

tli'

friendship with

Scientific Impressionists,

the

for

Rubens, Peter Paul, 39

Lafayette. Marquis de, 52

Landscape oj

il

from memory, 60; committed

21. pen,

\

i

',',

La Segatori. See Segatori, Agostina

oil

book

jrti-r. 52;

Manet). 132

heightened with white watercolor,

". colored lithograph, 62

..

an Gogh as

70

reed pen and pencil,

9%, polychrome woodcut, 70

Old Peasant,

'"

Ram

the

in

Orchard in Provence,

'>'

finite Blanche lTouIouse-1-autrecl. 4*31

25

M3

162: ar

I

/

Rood,0. \

Roulin,

oil

i,

Olympia

Landscape ai

Raymond de,

fi

Rock at Montmajour, The, 19

T7

l-Monl

loulouse-Lautrei

19

The Bathers,

162. 167;

Rimtl with Cypress

colored

j.

i

Tohotau

Roulin. Joseph. 92. 106, 137. 138

67

1

I

Rey, Dr. Felix,

Place Pigalle, P. Sescau Photograph

\oa \oa (Gauguin's journal), 131

\ 28Jfe,

La Goulue (The Glutton), 54, 55-56, 65, 66-

3

TebVaman

UK

Renoir, Pierre- Vuguste,

Gouiue Entering the Moulin Rouge

x

15, oil "r.

161

Redon, Odilon.

on the Rhone. See Starr) Sight on

leu

i

Nuenen. Holland, 36,

(Toulouse-Lautrec), 31

Iji

M

utth

RVnard.Jufes, 56

on canvas,

35, oil

x

Berceuse, 138

r

omrn

'

" onderfid Earth

(

(Gauguin), 13

on canvas. 6#

La \16me

'>- \

10,

It

era

tnd pencil,

(Louvre), 56

#e//e 4ngeie (Gauguin),

cardboard.

on

Maja (Goya), 132

lithograph, 62

/^i

72

Bloom, 39

i

/>/

id,

.

I

1 nhituin

25,26-27,38,

93, 113, 114-115

oil

I

1 I

25, oil

i

on

Potato Eaters, The,

\ighi

it),

/

\Ioubn Rouge,

Paris, 54, 56, 64, 65, 66-61

rou louse-

i

I>tt>

Pot oj Sun)

Naked

1

.pastel, 18

IK

x

La, (Seur

e.

Postman Roulin, The, 31

girl

Mucha, Vlphonse, 121

colored lithograph, 61

Kraus, Dr.C,

2^

on wood,

(Hiva) and votive

5

IXahn. Custave,

Gogh

Prud'hon, Pierre,

(Toulouse -I autrec), 20M

.

inccnt van

Morice, Charles, 120, 122. 123-121

Jewish Bride (Rembrandt), In h*

I

~

on canvas, 70

il

Jeu de

m

Portrait of t

Montmartre, 51-57. 64, 120

Moon goddess

tti" ni

Poseuse de ha-

(Gauguin), 15 iht., tamanu wood,

Japan.

1

Field oj Poppies, 12

canvas, t5

I

-

(book. Rood), 72.

••

Portrait of (9

I

Monet, Claude, 19,51,

51, 69, 72, 74, 77,

79,80,85

78.

>

,

oil

on canvas,

Mother, 5

\

12%,

/>'

oil

8

x 13. black

Sues

("anal.

Sunday

Two

gji's

I

crayon, 24

78

a _

Ifternoon on the Island of

187

brother), 9,


Index (continued)

94.95.96.97.98.

communicate.

inability to

100. 110. 113,

1

16; his

1.

119, 137-138. 139. 140, 144. 115.

intent toward the clergy. 13. 16. 93; his

146, 147. 161, 162. 163. 164. 165.

letters describing

166. 167. 168. 174. 176; death of. 167. 181

Van Gogh, The odor us,

an Gogh's father).

l\

\\ illem. //. 51,

80, 97.

19; admitted to Saint -Re my hospital, 140-

1

Japan. 69. 79. 89; anxiety

last

in

paintings. 165, 176-177; appreciation

of Seurat, 74-75; arrival in Paris

means of

39. 10, 49, 58; art a

communication other

1886).

(

artists. 50-51, 75, 79. 163: attitude

19; his

artists' at

commune.

use of

hopes for an

;

94-96. 167; hospitalized

Aries. 99. 118. 137-138. 148; idealism

improved health

The Hague.

in

Cm

interest in reading, 9-10.

pictures and prints,

belief

m

Bonnage.

in

Brussels

(

7-8;

changes

Saint-Remv. 142. 168. 171;

in his art at

changes

13-15. 16;

1880-1881). 29; buried beside

Theo, 167; capacity for love.

in subjects. 46, 78;

and vouth. 9-10,

I

1

141-142; later use of

1

1;

Auvers. 163-164;

loneliness at Aries,

his paintings at

1

10-1

160, 168, 17

1

;

a

metamorphosis

undernourishment. 29. 50; color

40. 46; minimal treatment at Saint-Remv.

explosion at Aries. 90, 93. 100. 101-115;

142: a "molting time." 15;

committed

Hague. 32: need to leave Saint-Remv. 147;

as mental patient. 139;

contemporary description of

new museum

his

technique. 92; correspondence with Theo.

18-19.20-21.22.29-

10. II. 12. 11. 15.

30. 31. 32. 33, 34. 35, 36. 39. 50. 69-70. 71. 79. 89. 90-91. 92, 93.

9

1-95, 96. 97.

98. 100. 110. 113. 138. 139. 145. 146. 117. 101. 163. 165. 167. 168. 174. 176;

works. 162; new

156; Study of Three Hands.

I

ieu

tew across Pans, from

\

an Gogh

Aries.

16%

tngtistes.

I

ision after the

Sermon. The. (Jacob

on canvas. 86. 18

— paintings: almond branches

Vos,Kee,3i-32,33

in his

Bedroom

and

art or letters. 142. 168; outings with

the Pipe

at Aries. 108-109. 110:

at \ight. 112-113; ( I

The Chair

an Gogh's Chair).

Weber. Louise. See La Goulue

Church

painting his salvation in hospital. 145-

Reaper. 146. 148: The Drawbridge. 90:

146; paintings and drawings of weavers

Fishing Boats on the Beach at Samtes-

42. 51. 69. 163; personal

at Auvers, 174; Cornfield with

it

Manes. 90. 184. sltpcase; Gauguin's Chair.

//

ft5

heat Field with Crows.

it

Rain (after Hiroshige).

we come

here do

Gauguin, 75-70; description of death as

ramblings. 165-166; portrait of,

Berceuse. 138; Landscnpe of Aries. 163:

Wilde. Oscar. 55

"reaper."

Toulouse-Lautrec.

The ^lght Cafe. 93, 113.///-//

//

16.

1

18;

1

de.-ponden<\ over

health at Saint-Remy,

I

destruction of his paintings, 71 for perspective, 3

mistral, 91

tin

1.

141:

16-1 17; ;

139; distinctiveness of

.

Kemy. 12,

Ill; carl

\

beginnings

drawing by,

15; earl)

/",-

;

Samt-

modern

circumstances, 164-165;

affair.

1

0-1

Gauguin, hospital. I

I

I,

12; first

76, 77; I

13. 171;

i

I

In

tudio in

reduced

lirsi

with Coupil

detachment,

1

firs I "'

funeral, 166- 167; his house

Wl.--."'.. 94 ''..II

188

..

138, 139; his

1.38.

112.

Vrles, 91-92, 99, 107, 137. 139.

1

I.

36. 37;

in

England,

12:

31-32; a second

second love

affair.

recovery

\rlr-. 138 139; self-portraits,

6,

al

7.69. 75. 138.

I<>8.

169, 178-179. 180;

I

36-37; Signal

12; short 's

\i-it in

sojourn

at

Drenlhc.

\rlcs hospital, 139;

south to \rles. 79.88.89. 100; span r.irecr. 7; subsidized b\

Theo, 30, 3

ol

1.

36.

i

ineyard, 162;

of

11

Road

18 x 15. oil on canvas. (2) 19 X 12'

(3)

j

\ 9, oil

and

on canvas,

canvas,

17)

x 21,

(6)

20V

oil

\

24% x 20ft, 17"

oil

i-.

on canvas,

1

in the Cafe'

Rhone, 90, 163:

Still

.".

15's, oil

on

oodcutter. The.

1

7'

>

I,

21ft

/ /

x 21':. black chalk.

oil

»

19

(

1}

)

Christ. The.

(Gauguin). 36

on canvas. 87

cllou House. The. 9ft x 12. watercolor

on canvas.

Young

mth

Girl

28ft, oil

Young

.

on

tn<cnt's

Room. 28:

uith a Lark. 16;

\\

I

il

and

It

(8

u

ban (Gauguin),

iewacross Paris, heal Field

heat Field utth Crows,

36!

i

x

on canvas, 126

oman Seated at a

22V

Lautrec),

78-179. 180; The

/

oil

Table (loulouse-

x 18ft, oil

on canvas,

Yveite Guilbert (Toulouse-Lautrec), i

.

oal

and

oil,

5

Life with Potatoes. 25;

Sunflowers, 90. lot. 162: I

x

Le Tamhourtn.

on canvas.

oil

1,

Sower, 31, loi. 102; Starry Sight on the

from

here

124

reed pen. 91 oil

1.

on can\as.

17 x l4fc,Ollon canvas. (5) 25

t

1

lellou

with Cypress

Far. 138. 169; self-portraits:

on canvas.

25!

we.'' it

_" \

23

Stars. 170: Self Portrait with Pipe

Bandaged

oil

nghi artist, 7, 24, 30; severity of

In- alt. uk-.

The Red

(1)

'

Father. 9; Portrait of the Artist's

Artist's

and

13:

relations with Toulouse-Lautrec. 58. 163;

a srlf-ta 10.

public sale, 161-162; hi- hr-i In

1.37.

171: relations with people of

36, 37; a- schoolteacher

08; his job,

17.

15,

return to the parental household (1883),

in Paris.

first

I

relationship with Sien, 32, 33-3

love

to paint outside

mi. eption "I art, 33, 36; his

Church,

Portrait

107; Portrait of the

Millirt.

Potato Eaters, 25. 26-27, 38. 40. 162-163;

15,

I

heroic Btature of, 8; In- adopted credo,

11; his artistic i

Lieutenant

oman 18

83,94-99, lio-lll. 117.

ol his

\i^ f "

meeting with

freedom

of Dr Cachet. 175;

Portrait

references to

4'7

indmill on Montmartre. 21 %

it

The Plain near Auvers. 171. 172-173:

Mother. 8; The Postman Roulin. 106; The

article

first

"Souvenir de Mauve." 88; Pere Tanguy, IF

contemporaries. 75-76. 139. 164; reco\erv

hat are

It

canvas. 17

32; relations with Gauguin, 75, 76, 78,

1'heo's

written about him, 161, 102;

him by

and relapse

at Aries. 138;

Old

Peasant. 90; Peach Trees tn Blossom

18;

on

x 40ft, oil

on burlap. 126, 131-135

oil

suicide, 146: rejection of the

explanation of //"

art. 7; fear ol

his art. 3 1-35; recollections of

5;

from.'

we going? (Gauguin).

are

La

in art. 9.

Cafe, 93; family background, 8-9; a father ol

1

15:

earl\ use of

subdued tones, 21. 36; exhibitions \w>rk. 70-71

his later sketches.

precarious health. 79.91; progress with

device

35; difficulties with

his style, 93; doctor's evaluation at

power of

by-

18: a possible epileptic.

Bloom.

20

canvas. 165. 176-177

of a Restaurant. 45; japonatserie: in the

on

heat Field with a Lark. 21 x 25. oil

canvas.

97. Ill; The Harvest. 102. 104-105; Interior

Hts Loom. The. 15% x 20%, pen.

heightened with white. 38

Signac. 75; painting at night. 113. 171;

and Pere

W«,-,er at

10:

1

70; Japonatsene: Trees in

162: description of, by

resiling

it

\ 36ft, oil

Vollard. Ambroise. 126

23

evaluation by Theo, 79: philosophical

Samt-Kem\.

766

tngt

I

Angel ) (Gauguin). 28ft

with the

6;

Oha^hi Bridge

29; departure From

21%, pen and reed pen,

x

8's. pencil.

See Les

I

description of an attack. 145; personality

artist. 15.

18'

Gogh on His Deathbed (Dr.

incent van

Gachet). 9': x

Two

Room.

150

eaverat His

It

oodcutter.

It

of

ieu

incent' s

t

on canvas, 28

x 15. oil

I

The Stone Bench and

of Aries, 150; The

Loom. 38; The

Cafe Terrace

Tanguy. 40.

of. 166; decision to

li v.

Child. 33;

90. 146;

deathbed sketch

ermeer. Jan. 70

/

I

oman Tyinga

11

and

nephew, 144-145. 147; no madness

16, 22-23. 24. 30-31. 37. 38. 46;

become an

Peasant

Sten

techniques. 45; news of his namesake

cutting off of ear, 7,99, 137. 141, 168;

elazquez. Diego, 132

\

against a blue skv. 147; The Ar/esienne.

(1884)..^. passion for peasant subjects,

evaluation of his color, 161;

critical

for his

\

Parsonage

Holding a Fork. 21: Three Self Portraits.

The

to

Provence, front end paper;

in

89

an Goven. Jan. 143

Sheaf. 22; The Rock at Monlmajour. 155;

in colors.

move

Theo. 18-21; Landscape with Railway

at \uenen. 36;

of

mental

in

in

\uenen. 37; illustrated letters

tn

palette, perspective frame, 35;

Le Tambounn, 70-71

mental collapse, 90. 99. 137- 147;

Van Rappard, Anton, 30

Orchard

10-

1; loss

1

\

Garden

Carnages. Telegraph Pole and Crane. 151;

Cormon, 50;

London,

in

Aries. France,

an Gogh's Chair. See Chair and the Pipe. The

J

Garden

to

colors. 75. 122; la\out ol

his palette. 35; lessons with life in

"Van Gogh Year,"

Maries-de-la- Mer. 154; The Fountain in the of the Hospital. 157;

sister),

79, 139

Fishing Boats a! Saintes-

19;

I

Parsonage

hospital at Saint-Remy. 137. 141-147. 148.

childhood

chronic

;

illness.

complementary

social

function of art. 38-39. 78, 93; as bookstore clerk, 12-13; at the

mental

Van Gogh. Wilhelmina, (Van Gogh's

from Monlmajour. 148, 152-153;

it

incent Willem, (Van Gogh's

\

nephew). 145. 147. 162. 164

oj Poplars. 17;

Provence, back end paper; Garden of the

and

69. 70. 80;

15.

94

\an Gogh.

Cypresses.

Japanese

19;

1

— watercolors: Hospital Corridor

Hospital Garden. 136; The Yellow House.

childhood drawing of flowers, 10;

34;

Cafe Le Tambounn. 44:

at Saint-Remv. 160; Stone Steps in the

Cornfield utth Reaper. 148. 158-159; The

exposure to color. 39:

17: increased

inexpensive models

tndmtll on Montmarire. 47;

It

in the

The Zouave. 90

visit to

;

oman

it

an Gogh

\

71.90-91. 100. 146. 164. 167.

7.

\an Gogh —drawings: Avenue

13.

1

his

;

of,

168

Auvers.

at

164; incipient mental breakdown. 1

output.

Oise, 163. 168. 171; beginnings of 1

unorthodox methods

144, 145;

Theo's family, 162-163, 168: volume of

/

La ^egatun. 45. 70-71; later diagnoses of

1

Remv.

of cypresses, 144,

toward abstractions. 97; to Auvers-sur-

religious brooding.

from Saint-

tastes in art. 10; trip to Aries

influence of Pointillism on. 29. 45:

with

for, 16; association

A

33; use of impasto, 35-36. 75, 171

of. 138. 145;

141; adverse reaction to success. 162; affinit) for

165. 176-177:

suicide of. 8. 10. 30, 49, 145. 164. 166:

appearance. 75-76; his personal treatment

Impressionism. 46. 51

8.9.30,31.32.37-38

Van Gogh. Vincent

Saint-Remv. 143. 144.

146: his naivete. 93. 139; his peculiar

15.

1

50, 70, 76, 91, 95. 142. 145. 164. 165:

£ievenbergen, Holland. 9

Ada. Km.le. 38 Zouave, The. 90

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The world of van gogh 1853 1890 (art ebook)  
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