Vincent van Gogh, Greatness and Demise; An Afternoon in Auvers, France, 2012

 

A flashback to an experience we shared on vacation two years ago.

Short on time? Just browse the images and click for full resolution. 

This post contains nine images.

As one of history’s creative luminaries, Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter, fit the irony linking talented genius with mental affliction, (as so well discussed in a recent article by Nancy C. Anderson, “The Atlantic” magazine, July/August 2014.) In his last days, at the age of 37, van Gogh resided in a small one room apartment above Auberge Revoux, an inn in rural Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, about 27 km NW of Paris. During the brief seventy days spent there in 1890, he was artistic greatness…..but dealing with demons,  eventually resulting in his probable suicide that spring. 

In September of 2012, Jeanne and I had the privilege of visiting this very special place, the experience intensified by gloomy weather befitting its historical nature. Below is a photographic taste of that day – a side tour from our Avalon Seine River cruise.

2012-09-27 at 14-58-21

Room #5, his room, preserved as it was with barely enough space for a bed and sparse furnishings – and place to hang and dry paintings

2012-09-27 at 15-17-15

 

2012-09-27 at 15-19-33

Our small group walks along narrow lanes and thru evocative gateways as rain begins to fall under darkening skies…

2012-09-27 at 15-28-19

to the Romanesque/Gothic church, which was inspiration for van Gogh’s “Church at Auvers,” shown below.

2012-09-27 at 15-26-10

2012-09-27 at 15-32-02

We continued with a slow-paced, contemplative walk up this primitive lane towards the hilltop cemetery, the weather suggestive of a day here 122 years earlier, imaged by the strokes of the painter – but emphasizing the brighter, sunlit foreground against the storm clouds as seen below.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 9.27.39 PM

(This and other source credits to Wikipedia)

2012-09-27 at 15-36-14

And in the gentle peace of the light rainfall, but troubled sky, we paid tribute to Vincent and his brother, Theo, at the cemetery… their neatly tended graves seen below with one of our groups older members – he slowly walking past while paying his silent homage.

2012-09-27 at 15-38-56

As a post script, the man above, a solo traveler unknown to the 15 or so others in our group, caused some anxiety while we waited on the bus to leave the small village. The driver/guide and others looked in adjacent quaint shops and inns searching in vain, as the rendezvous time came and went. Perhaps in his early nineties, concern was universal among us. At the last moment, this quiet unassuming man appeared, slowly made his way down the bus aisle in silence as we all wondered where he had been. As he slowly and purposefully reached his seat – not even looking up – he unceremoniously said, “I’m sure you all want to know… her name was Annette!”

Advertisements

About mvschulze

Observer
This entry was posted in Art, Buildings, Mystery, Photo, Pondering, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Vincent van Gogh, Greatness and Demise; An Afternoon in Auvers, France, 2012

  1. disperser says:

    Was he making a joke, or telling about a visit to a grave?

    Like

  2. Ed says:

    a long ago rendevous in 1944 perhaps? Excellent post and pics..:-)

    Like

    • mvschulze says:

      Thanks, Ed, (and disperser.) In retrospect I (and I believe the people on the bus) thought it was a joke based on the delievery, …and the proximity of a few village drinking establishments/with upstairs rooms to let, near the bus. But…you never know! M (a retrospective look!) 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s