Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Discovering Auvers-sur-Oise

A few weeks ago I visited some friends in Paris.
And together we did a day trip to Auvers-sur-Oise, a town only 30km from Paris.
It's where Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted for the last 3 months of his life.

We took the train from Paris to Auvers-sur-oise one morning and spent the entire day there.
It was a day so well spent.
Jumping in the Wheatfields
I have always been a fan of Van Gogh's.
Maybe because he was the first artist I ever knew of at age 5.
Back then I knew nothing about art or his distinct style or anything about his life.
But when I went home after visiting the museum and seeing his art, I painted my own version of Van Gogh's sunflowers.
What's funny is that I still remember how I was convinced that our paintings looked identical.
I love how confident and sure of myself I was at that age even when I didn't make sense.
Sketch of Eglise Auvers-sur-Oise by me
So when I got to visit Auvers-sur-oise and see where he lived and painted, it was quite an experience for me.
Van Gogh wanted to leave the hustle and bustle of Paris and so this is where he moved to find peace in the countryside.
He made 80 paintings in 70 days.

The size of his room at the Auberge Ravoux was tiny (only 7 sq.m.) and it seemed pretty depressing.
But Van Gogh didn't really paint here since it wasn't allowed so his paintings were mainly landscapes, and churches. And he also did a couple of portraits.
When you walk around the town you can actually see where each painting was painted.

Room No.5 on the 2nd floor of the Auberge Ravoux.
He was very close to his brother Theo [Thedore Van Gogh] and Dr. Gachet and wrote to them often.
Through his letters one can see that he was quite depressed - like an artist so immersed in his art that he drowned in it and couldn't come up for air and save himself.

Van Gogh shot himself in the wheatfields and came back to his room to die. He was only 38.
Dr. Gachet and Theo were by his side at his death.

Vincent and Theo's graves.
Van Gogh's life was as depressing as his art was beautiful.
It's sad that his art was appreciated only after his death.
Today people adorn their walls with his prints.
Some are even using his art to make art of their own.
While other's are making a feature length animation based on his life.

Here are some of his works juxtaposed with the locations where they were painted.

The Church at Auvers, 1890
Wheatfield with crows, July 1890

We ended the day with a picnic by the river Oise.
We bought some ham and camambert to eat with our baguettes.
And eclairs for dessert.

The day couldn't have been more perfect.

Photos by me.

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