Ronette would roll on the floor laugh until it hurts when I tell her I've become quite a van Gogh enthusiast; I read half a dozen books on him in the last three weeks or so and have about that many by my futon upstairs. I've just ordered a bunch from Better World Books so I can continue this path.

Japan has always reciprocated this besotted-teenage crush with Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and Cubists/Fauvists/Surrealists by extension, and we all go though our Monet and Renoir phases as sure as puberty. And around the same time. I myself never progressed to the van Gogh phase because I didn't like the brash, animal-like brushwork most of my life until I saw Simon Schama's documentary a few years ago.

At first I was more interested in his depression, but I became interested in his whole life, and this summer, finally, into his art. In face, I don't mind his paintings as much as I used to, but I still can't say I like all, or most, of them the way I like, say, Matisse's.  

There are nine oil paintings in permanent collections in seven institutes in Japan, (and possible others in private collections.) I've seen three so far, (this, this and this, though I understand there are doubts as to the last one's provenance;) plus one visiting, (go 4/5 of the way down and click on the colorful portrait;) and one's in Canada now.

Mom and I may make a day trip to go see three in one gallery, (their website don't show the works); I may travel a whole day to go see another though it's rather far; and I'm not sure if I'm interested in this one enough to contemplate an expensive one day trip.

I've been trying to learn about the Japanese love affair with van Gogh, and if "we" view his person and his art differently from the "Western" views. I'm not sure where I'm going with it, but not knowing is half the fun.

So, after finding out about the exhibition in Hiroshima a fortnight ago at the architecture park, I actually made a mad dash overnight trip. There were 52 works from the Paris years, (plus a few before and a few after,) from the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and it was wonderful. There were so many pieces I wasn't sure where to look at the start, but I became more interested in how he tried out thick and thin layers of paint, the directions and the lengths of the brush strokes; that he used such cheap paint some started fading as early as ten years after the being painted, and a more general transition/changes/fashion in Western painting in the late 19th and early 20th century. And I walked down to another museum to see "Le Jardin de Daubigny", the second link above. (I also took an early morning walk around the Peace Park and the Dome so I'll post some pics in a couple of days.)

I've also become interested in Manet and Bonnard. But as I said, I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Which is half the fun. If it turns out to be just a hobby of mine, what a glorious hobby it is!


Cate Rose said...

How fortunate you are to see all these wonders in the flesh. I love Vincent!

margery meyers haber said...

Interesting to note that Vincent also had a love affair with Japanese art, so Japan's love of Van Gogh seems appropriate. How wonderful for you, Meg, to be able to make the rounds and see so much great art. Have you heard that "Sunset at Montmajour" was just authenticated?

Meg said...

Connie, yes. Most definitely. Though I'm learning that because he tried so many things, I really love some of his work, whereas some others are "meh" to me. But I can stand in front of something I like for an hour and not realize there are other people around and the universe is still... running.

Margery, yes, the evening I came back from Hiroshima. I'm sure it's a huge news there, too!