Becoming van Gogh - A Fantastic Exhibit

Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, 1887

My favorite artist is Vincent van Gogh. I've spent countless hours studying his art and life. I've read all the books and watched the movies but I've never seen one of his paintings in person. When I found out the Denver Art Museum was going to show more than 70 of his works, I couldn't believe it.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so many pieces together at one place. Not even a late fall snowstorm could stop us from driving down the hill to experience the fantastic exhibit entitled Becoming van Gogh.

I've been very influenced by Vincent van Gogh but not because I emulate his painting style, my temperament wouldn't allow it. It's because I wholeheartedly agree with his philosophy on art, nature, science and religion.

The display is interesting as it traces van Gogh's development from beginner to master, plain and simple. All of the drama has been eliminated. There is no mention of "the ear" or "the prostitute" and not a peep about Gauguin. This show is about the evolution of a very talented and driven individual.

The exhibit focuses on Vincent's time in Paris. It was the transitional phase between his earthy, Dutch beginnings and the breakthrough into Impressionism and beyond. This period is filled with paintings of flowers and windmills. I was impressed by the size of some of the canvases. Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin is life-size.

The impasto begs to be seen up close and the self-portraits are absolutely stunning. After Vincent's death, the marketing of his legend is how he became famous. Through hard work, sheer will and powers of observation he became van Gogh.

Not even snow could keep us from the exhibit.

Kitchen Gardens on Montmarte, 1887

This portrait of Roulin is larger than life.

Self-Portrait, 1887

One of my favorites, Landscape Under a Stormy Sky, 1889


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