Tuesday, December 22, 2009

van gogh letter sketches


Four people on a bench
To Theo from The Hague
September 1882 [262]

"Well, I hope that the small bench, even if not yet saleable, will show you that I have nothing against tackling subjects with something agreeable or pleasant about them, which are thus more likely to find buyers than things with a more sombre sentiment. [...]

Adieu again, a handshake in thought, and believe me, Ever yours, Vincent"

Before Van Gogh was Van Gogh, he was a financially struggling artist defining his philosophy about art and his place as an artist within the business. He was concerned about which paintings would sell and which paintings wouldn't.
You mustn’t, whatever you do, think that I have great expectations regarding the appreciation of my work — I believe one must be satisfied if one gets to the point where one can persuade a few people of the soundness of what one is striving for and is understood by them, without exaggerated praise.

And the rest is a matter of, if something comes of it so much the better, but something that one should even think about as little as possible. But still I believe the work has to be seen, precisely because the few friends can settle out from the stream of passers-by. One doesn’t have to be guided by what the majority say or do, though.

Self-affirmations are a familiar refrain for artists. Some days belief in them is empowering and some days it's a clap-if-you-believe-in-fairies plea to a cynical Lost Boy.

This collection of Van Gogh letter sketches is captivating as an affirmation of art and life. They illuminate the practical concerns of the artist in both art and business.

And it's fun to pretend you are pen pals with Vincent Van Gogh.

Much more at BibliOdyssey. Link.