Monday, November 29, 2010

Van Gogh's Bedroom

After acquiring my ticket to Van Gogh's bedroom, I was allowed up the back stairs to a darkened room in order to watch a very poignant film on Van Gogh's life in Auvers-Sur-Oise. The director-types from the lunchroom downstairs were already there. I was happy to have beat the crush of the budgies downstairs. That would have spoiled my whole experience.

The screening-room consisted of a low bench at the front and a higher bench against the wall. When I chose the lower, one of the movie-men addressed me and what little French I have enabled me to understand that they said, "Madame, this is not Truffaut. Please sit on the this banquette." I had a vague recollection of what they were on about - the puppet scene from Truffaut's The 400 Blows.

After confirming that I could only take photos of Vincent's room from the stairs, I climbed to the 3rd floor and found myself in a room of palpable sadness. A tiny caned chair focused under a skylight was the only furniture in Vincent's bedroom. The effect was one of great loneliness.

I placed myself where I thought the head of Vincent's bed would be and imagined the pain and despair he endured during the two days it took him to die. Had his little bed once made the scratches in the wall? Had he made the nail holes once upon a time by hanging one of the 70 paintings he had created while there?

The Maison de Van Gogh, which is what the museum and restaurant compound is called, is trying to acquire an original Van Gogh to hang in this room. Behind some Plexiglas is a copy of a letter Vincent wrote to Theo stating that "some day or another I believe I will find a way to have my own exhibition in a cafe".  Someday or another this room will host one of Vincent's paintings.

Next door to Vincent's room is the bed chamber of another Dutch painter who had stayed at the Auberge. He had heard Vincent's moans and cabled Theo to come at once.

Vincent died July 30, 1889 with Theo at his side.

For more information please contact the Maison de Van Gogh

1 comment:

  1. This just tears at my heart. I adore Van Gogh's work. Next trip I'll have to visit Auvers. I love love love your posts! If I can't be in France, at least I can picture it through your eyes. Great blog!