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Vincent Van Gogh: The Glory of Madness

By Stephen Eaker

Van Gogh Potato Eaters

The great impressionist painter Camille Pissarro once said of Vincent Van Gogh, “I believed he was either a genius or a madman; I never dreamed he would achieve both.”

Vincent Van Gogh: The Glory of Madness
Wed, Sep 3, 4:30 and 6:30pm
La Ostra Roja
A Casa Verde Annex
San Jorge 45, Colonia San Antonio (off Refugio Sur)
130 pesos
Reservations: 121-1026 or

Vincent Willem Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, and right from early childhood he displayed a difficult and indifferent temperament. He was the son of a minister, and his mother was a strong and caring woman who observed later that, of all of her children, “Vincent was the strongest.”

By the age of 27, Van Gogh had failed at a variety of occupations and attempts at having a domestic life with a woman and family. From art dealing to preaching the gospel, his forays would end in defeat. During his evangelical excursion in Brussels at the coal mines of Borinage, he began to draw obsessively, initially focusing on the life, the dress, and the tools of the miners.

Van Gogh’s early years as a painter are marked with frenetic work, dedication, and hardship. The red-bearded Dutchman traveled and worked in and around Holland. One of his earliest masterpieces, the famous “Potato Eaters,” already displays the expressionist and compassionate character of a style that is his alone.

In February 1888, he arrived in Paris to live with his brother Theo. He came in contact with the liberating revolutionary work of the Impressionists painters and their predecessors. Paris and the Impressionists would have a tremendous impact on Van Gogh, ultimately leading him to the zenith of his own artistic creations in the south of France.

He left Paris with the hope of finding Japan in the south of France! His visions of a sun-drenched Arles were put on a momentary halt when he arrived in February 1888 because his destination was covered in snow. Working in the snow-covered fields surrounding the town, he broke a twig from an almond tree and placed it in a glass of water. When the little twig blossomed, he painted it. This small oil was a precursor to his glorious artistic vision.

During his 18 months in Arles, one masterpiece after another flowed from Van Gogh’s easel. Up at dawn and out on the road, returning at noon with a finished canvas and then grabbing another and moving off to another location. As his colors and compositions became more brilliant and stronger, so did his overzealous nature, demons, and madness. Expressionism was born! His brushstrokes were charged with emotions, projecting his excitement and frustrations.

Vincent Van Gogh would spend the last 70 days of his life in Auvers, under the care of Dr Gachet, a specialist in nervous disorders recommended by Camille Pissarro. He would complete 70 paintings during that time. His madness and self-guilt returned to haunt him and, in July of 1890, Vincent suffered a mortal bullet wound. His incredible physical strength, emotional vitality, and artistic desire were not enough to save him.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Van Gogh this Wednesday, September 3, at 4:30 and 6:30pm at La Ostra Roja, a Casa Verde Annex, San Jorge 45, colonia San Antonio (off Refugio Sur.) Please reserve at 121-1026 or; 130 pesos.


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