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


Tess Kincaid said...

Breathtaking photos, Hazel.

secret, fragile skies said...

exquisite photography. am loving your posts. thanks!

Rinkly Rimes said...

At least he had a sky-light and was able to look at his starry sky. Lovely photography.

Hels said...

What an austere, lonely cell of a room :(

Did van Gogh really create 70 paintings while there? If so, depression and terrible illness apparently weren't a barrier to his creativity.

Giulia said...

It's a treat to see the photographs on both blogs because of the backgrounds...I like them against both.

As for the trip, it is very sad, yes. Which you describe beautifully.


The Clever Pup said...

Hels, Vincent was there for about 70 days and averaged a painting a day - not including drawings.

The Clever Pup said...

Thanks Giulia-cat

My tale of woe is almost over. I hope I'm not boring.

Giulia said...


LadyCat said...

Amazing photos! The room is so the wood floors. I am really enjoying your journey.

The Clever Pup said...

GG - one can go right into the room - just no pictures.

phil said...

Really fascinating.
Thanks so much.