Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crazy Tree

8x10 pastel on pastelmat paper.

Vincent died in his brother's arms, but he was a lonely man. The new biography tears down the romantic image of Van Gogh as a misunderstood, persecuted artistic genius, only in that the authors emphasize that his personality was a major factor in how he was treated by the world. He couldn't maintain a relationship with anyone. He would eventually argue with and offend everyone. He easily took offense. He neglected his appearance and his health. The authors even suggest that he didn't die at his own hands, which seems like the last blow to his romantic image.

But the art survived, at least most of it. Vincent was not a facile draughtsman. It's easy to see how his contemporaries thought he was a crude painter if we try to ignore all the art that was created after Van Gogh. Few of his contemporaries had the eyes and temperament to appreciate his art.

Yesterday, I mentioned the Saint-Remy Starry Night at MoMA. Unlike the earlier Arles Starry Night, this painting was done during the day because he was not allowed to leave his room at night. Despite the many obstacles in his life, Van Gogh travelled a great distance in a short number of years.

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