Happy Birthday, Vincent!

Dear Liza,

A suitably simple supper

March 30 was the birthday of one of my favorites artists, Vincent Van Gogh. He was born in 1853, so we celebrated his 167th birthday. We ate homemade French onion soup with crusty bread from Grand Central Bakery, and watched Willem Dafoe’s portrayal of Vincent in “At Eternity’s Gate.”

Our spirit alter to Vincent

Vincent was born in the Netherlands, and his father was a minister. He tried to do a lot of jobs before turning to painting, including art dealer and minister. Dutch painters (those from the Netherlands) used mostly browns and grays at the time, and he didn’t start using the bright colors we love until he went to Paris to paint in 1886.

When Bridgett met Vincent, 2008

He didn’t stay in Paris for long, but took his new love of color to the south of France when he moved to the little town of Arles. His deep blues and shimmering golden wheat fields capture, for me, the essence of the Provencial region.

Although he is now one of the world’s most famous painters, during his lifetime he sold only one painting. His mental health was unsteady and he didn’t take proper care of himself. He ate too little and drank far too much, and had long periods when he was hospitalized. Through all his troubles, he was supported by his brother Theo, an art dealer in Paris.

In the last two years of his life, Vincent did over 200 paintings and 100 drawings. These are the vibrant irises, wheat fields and self-portraits we know him by.

Wheat fields with crows, painted the same month he died

Vincent died in Arles in 1890 of a gunshot wound at the age of 37. For years it was believed he shot himself, but now some folks say he was shot by some boys in the town, though there is no evidence of this. Movies like “At Eternity’s Gate” and “Loving Vincent” propose this idea, but we may never know.

Vincent Van Gogh had a hard life and an eye for color that was ahead of his time. He said he wanted to paint “to show people how he saw and how he felt.”

His works are gifts to our eyes and our souls.


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Vincent!”

  1. Judy…judy…judy….VG is one of my VERY and 1st favorite artists… so much so that years ago I painted the Starry Night scene on one wall of our (then) guest room, and the famous Sunflower vase (one of them) on an adjacent wall… weird! but even weirder… your home decor. MY living room walls are turquoise and one wall is a darker Turq accent wall WITH a VERY similar clock !! Can I attach pictures here… probably not… I’ll email you a picture. So So ironic. Love ya babe! R.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: