A Clue to Van Gogh’s Final Days Is Found in His Last Painting


AMSTERDAM — One hundred and thirty years in the past, Vincent van Gogh awoke in his room at an inn in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, and went out, as he normally did, with a canvas to paint. That evening, he returned to the inn with a deadly gunshot wound. He died two days later, on July 29, 1890.

Scholars have lengthy speculated in regards to the sequence of occasions on the day of the capturing, and now Wouter van der Veen, a researcher in France, says he has found a big piece of the puzzle: the exact location the place van Gogh created his ultimate portray, “Tree Roots.” The discovering may assist to higher perceive how the artist spent his ultimate day of labor.

“We now know what he was doing during his last day” earlier than he was shot, stated Mr. van der Veen, the scientific director of the Van Gogh Institute, a nonprofit established to protect the artist’s tiny room on the Auberge Ravoux, the inn in Auvers-sur-Oise. “We know that he spent all day painting this painting,” Mr. van der Veen famous.

“Tree Roots” was painted on the Rue Daubigny, a most important street by Auvers-sur-Oise, which is about 20 miles north of Paris, Mr. van der Veen discovered. The tangled, gnarled tree roots and stumps can nonetheless be seen in the slope of a hill there right this moment, simply 500 toes from the Auberge Ravoux, the place van Gogh spent the final 70 days of his life.

Researchers on the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have endorsed the discovering. On Tuesday, the director of the museum, Emilie Gordenker, attended an unveiling of the spot.

Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher on the Van Gogh Museum, stated in an interview that the discovering was “an interpretation, but it looks like indeed it is true.”

Mr. van der Veen stated that he was pointed towards the invention whereas taking a look at photographs of Auvers from about 1905, which he had borrowed from Janine Demuriez, a 94-year-old Frenchwoman who has collected a whole lot of historic postcards. One reveals a bike owner on the Rue Daubigny, stopping subsequent to a steep embankment, the place tree roots are clearly seen.

Mr. van der Veen stated that he simply occurred to have the postcard on his display screen at dwelling in Strasbourg, France, throughout lockdown when one thing clicked in his thoughts: The postcard was paying homage to “Tree Roots.” He pulled up a digital model of the portray, and in contrast them aspect by aspect.

The postcard is “not a secret hidden document that nobody can find,” Mr. van der Veen stated. “A lot of people have already seen it, and recognize the subject, the motif of tree roots. It was hidden in plain sight.”

Because he was unable to journey from Strasbourg himself, Mr. van der Veen referred to as Dominique-Charles Janssens, the proprietor of the Van Gogh Institute who was in Auvers, and requested him to check out the world.

“I’d say 45 to 50 percent is still there,” Mr. Janssens stated in a phone interview, referring to the entanglement of roots. “They cut some of the trees down, and it was covered with ivy, but we took some of that down.”

Van Gogh would have walked alongside the Rue Daubigny to get to the city’s church, which he painted for “The Church at Auvers” in June 1890, and to make his way to the sprawling wheat fields just outside of town, where he painted “Wheatfield With Crows” in July, Mr. van der Veen said.

Mr. Naifeh said the discovery could even support his murder theory. “The fact that he went out and painted all day, not just an average painting but a very important painting, indicates that he may not have been depressed,” he said. “It was otherwise a productive normal day, and that runs counterintuitive to the idea that he might then go and kill himself.”

Mr. van der Veen agreed on one point. “It confirms everything that most witnesses at this time say, that his behavior was perfectly normal in the last days,” he said. “There was no sign that he was having a crisis.”

However, Mr. van der Veen maintains that van Gogh killed himself, which is also the official position of the Van Gogh Museum.

Van Gogh had also made a drawing of tree roots when he lived in The Hague in 1882. He described the artwork to his brother, Theo, in a letter.

He wrote that he wanted the tree to “express something of life’s struggle,” seeing it as “Frantically and fervently rooting itself, as it were, in the earth, and yet being half torn up by the storm.”

Mr. van der Veen said that “Tree Roots” expressed something similar.

“Ending his life with this painting makes so much sense,” he said. “The painting illustrates the struggle of life, and a struggle with death. That’s what he leaves behind. It is a farewell note in colors.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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