Painting With The Girls 99
April 8, 2016.
Day 99 (267 days to go)
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch painter, best known for his struggle with mental illness and paintings depicting ordinary life represented by dramatic brushstrokes and exciting colors. He is probably the most revered painter in the twentieth century by popular choice.
E. H. Gombrich writes in The Story of Art, “He longed for an unsophisticated art which would not only appeal to rich connoisseurs but give joy and consolation to every human being. Van Gogh was in such a frenzy of creation that he felt the urge not only to draw the radiant sun itself, but to paint humble, restful and homely things which no one had had thought as being worthy of the artist’s attention.”
He only painted for ten years, from 1880 until his death in Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890. In that short time, he produced more then a thousand paintings with seventy of them having been painted in the last seventy days of his life.
There remains great controversy about two events in his life, the severance of his ear and the circumstances of his death.
German historians Hans Kauffman and Rita Wildegans argue that it was Paul Gauguin who severed his ear in an argument with Vincent, but didn’t mean to. They claim there are several letters where they both hint at what happened and decided to keep it quiet so that Gauguin would not face legal charges.
Another debate concerns the end of his life. Writers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith explain a different view about the circumstances of his death from the traditional suicide theory in the book, Van Gogh- The Life. Their hypothesis is based on another historian, John Rewald, who visited Auvers in the 1930s. In interviews with witnesses and research done by the authors, they explain that a kid who was armed with a rifle and had been seen many different occasions playing cowboy in the area might have fired the fatal shot. Van Gogh’s death at the hand of a child might have been covered up.
Van Gogh’s life and paintings have been much studied through the immense amount correspondence with his brother, Theo, with whom he had a very close relationship.