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van Gogh’s Fault

October 11, 2007

D I S T R A C T I O N S

I’m sure it happens to everybody, and tonight I am without exception. You know how it goes. You start a project having a pretty good mental outline, and with a little past experience, a reasonable idea as to an estimated time of completion. Then it hits – distraction, and this then, is my story, or excuse.

While studying the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, not only have I come to realize just what it is that troubles Hollywood stars to the point of destruction, but in so doing, I have solved one of the art world’s greatest mysteries. Yes, while on my way to find out this about that, as it were, I now know the disposition of the once, now second highest valued painting in the world; Van Gogh’s portrait of his mediocre physician, Dr. Paul Ferdinand Gachet. This, of course, is the masterpiece that fetched $82.5 million dollars from Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito in 1990, following the three minute auction at Christies. As the story goes, following the record purchase, the painting was whisked to the home of it’s new owner in Tokyo, and has yet to surface.

Over the years, rumor has supplanted the work in significance, and even after denying the boast of the now late Saito, many believe the painting was cremated along with the remains of “The Wild One;” Saito himself. This, of course, has never been founded, and I, together with the now owner shall divulge the location of Dr, Gachet, and end the mystery shortly.

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Being logged-in to your social networking site while trying to get some serious work done, is just not a good idea. In my case, it’s primarily MySpace, and while certainly not not a waste of time, it can be a huge distraction. Take, for example, the fellow pictured above. Would you add this guy to your list of “friends?” I mean, he’s got the right picture-look, what with the self-portrait by digital camera in the bathroom mirror thing, so, based on this criteria alone, he’s certainly friend material. And, major bonus, he’s one of those ideal friends you add that will never be heard from, but likewise, cannot be blamed for unnecessary distraction. Of this, I am certain, as you see, the dood above is actually Vincent van Gogh himself, having died 117 years ago, will likely not be doing any texting, lol!

In explaining the picture, the head is indeed authentic Vincent, and the balance of the body, clothes, and camera, will be recognized by one of my friends some day, or we shall see. That is, the owner will need to read this post and confirm via MySpace comment or otherwise, and the wait may prove interesting. I am not, nor would I encourage you to hold your breath for a quick revelation as to this identity.

Anyhow, Vincent’s head has not been otherwise “Photo Shopped,” or re-touched by me, other than to lop it off and place it on my umwitting friend’s body. Nobody knows who the photographer was (presumed long deceased), but the pic reveals van Gogh’s looking reasonably healthy, unlike the last two or three years of his life, so, I’d say the pic was snapped probably circa 1885 at the latest, when Vincent would have been 32 years old. I think it’s pretty amazing, I mean, he looks very much like any other ordinary Vincent van Gogh you might chance to be-friend, don’t you think?

Of course, van Gogh’s reign of fame was only the last ten years of his life, and I guess all agree, his best work came closer to the end. In fact, the pricey portrait of the attending physician, Dr. Gachet himself, was among the last subjects. Unquestionably, booze, primarily absinthe, and a habit of chain-smoking cigarettes, hastened Vincent’s demise, and there really should be no argument about that.

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Still-life with absinthe ~ 1887, and skull with cigarette ~ 1888. Click each to enlarge.

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I think van Gogh would have been very comfortable with MySpace. I have not encountered another artist with as many “self-pics,” and thus far, I am up to twenty-eight, which rivals even the best of the narcissistic bathroom photogs. Here, yes, I did de-face the portrait with the Mickey Mouse band-aid – another distraction, sorry!

Van Gogh cut off the lobe of his left ear during some sort of seizure on 24 December, 1888. Mental problems afflicted him, particularly in the last few years of his life. During some of these periods he did not paint, or was not allowed to. There has been much debate over the years as to the source of Van Gogh’s mental illness and its effect on his work. Over 150 psychiatrists have attempted to label his illness, and some 30 different diagnoses have been suggested.

Doesn’t the preceeding sound all too Anna Nicole, Britney Spears, Marilyn Monroe, ad nausum Hollywood? The similarities to me are text book. There just doesn’t seem to be much difference in van Gogh’s quick rise to stardom, bouts with alcohol and other bad habits, resulting in bumps along the way, leading to an untimely conclusion. Then, there are the experts, the doctors, all with a different opinion and diagnosis of the “condition” leading to the conclusion. Obviously, I am not a doctor, yet I do not watch much in the way of TV either, so what do I know? It’s just that the ending seems so forgone and obvious, I too must be missing something.

Oh, well, so much for today’s distraction, I see I have friend requests in my in-box to check out, heY!

“EVERYBODY IS UP TO SOMETHING, heY!”

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~ X Anemi

One comment

  1. Mr. Van Gogh was neither famous, wealthy, or even had a permanent home very much unlike the famous people you are comparing him to. He was obscure at the end of his life and only his loyal brother cared anything about him. He was starving and often freezing in the winter which could make anyone weak, sickly and ultimately have seizures and hallucinations. He was not privy to the obscene prices his paintings fetch now. He couln’t give his paintings away and only sold a very few during his lifetime. His brother supported him totally.
    It is sad but the genius that created these incredibly original works profited nothing by his brilliance. Only unrelated money hungry art dealers have made money from his work and mind. (not even artist themselves)
    When private mega money buys these works then the world loses the chance to even see them. This is a very sad thing indeed.



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