ALIEN SUNSET AT MONTMAJOURPosted: 2013/09/10
This is one of those stories that makes you want to scour through attics, yard sales, or auctions. ‘Sunset at Montmajour‘, the first full-sized canvas by Vincent van Gogh to be discovered since 1928 was sitting in a Norwegian attic because the owner, an art-collector had been told it wasn’t authentic or even signed by the artist. The 1888 painting Van Gogh described in a letter to his brother has now been authenticated by experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam after a two-year investigation.
Some will argue art is frivolous or a waste of time, but I think like literature it entertains, gives happiness, and makes us imagine beyond the mundane. I don’t get the whole the artist-intended-the-piece-of-banana-to-represent-inner-turmoil-of-his-doomed-reality, I’m too plebeian for that. Like everything else I like art cause I like it; not cause someone tells me I should like it. Two years studying and authenticating a piece of art seems like a waste of time, but I suppose it’s all about money.
‘Sunset at Montmajour‘ depicts twisted holly oaks and a distant ruin suffused in the setting sun’s glow painted during Van Gogh’s time in Arles, in the south of France, when he also painted ‘The Yellow House’, ‘The Bedroom’ and ‘Sunflowers‘.
Also during this period, Van Gogh lost part of his left earlobe. Always reported VVG cut it off himself and then gave it to a prostitute, two German historians, Hans Kaufmann (author of “Pakt des Schweigens” – “Pact of Silence”) and Rita Wildegans disagree. Evidence suggests Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and friend French painter Paul Gauguin actually fought just before Christmas 1888 in Arles, France. Gauguin lopped off Van Gogh’s earlobe in that fight. VVG did apparently give the piece of ear to a prostitute and went home to sleep where he almost bled to death. It is believed Van Gogh made up the story of self-harm to protect his friend from prosecution as he was desperately infatuated with him. The two men entered into a Pact of Silence about the incident. Though the two never spoke or saw each other again, letters and witness accounts show that this version is more likely. It’s also much more theatrical.
Considering art is all about money, it’s fitting that tortured artist, Van Gogh, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot in 1890 had only sold one painting, the other like 900 made money for others since.
There are several movies about Van Gogh and of course, a Doctor Who episode which is even cooler because it has Van Gogh pitted against aliens. Will anyone ever know the whole truth of what plagued this brilliant artist, perhaps not and perhaps that’s for the best. Enjoy what he left behind.