View Full Version : Saw Van Gogh Exhibit Today...
03-11-2000, 09:28 PM
Today my family and I saw the "Face to Face" Van Gogh portrait exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
I loved it! It was so different seeing the actual paintings instead of reproductions. Awesome!
My husband and kids were less enthusiastic... They enjoyed it but they didn't appreciate it fully. My husband thinks that the guy simply couldn't paint. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/frown.gif My kids said they prefer my paintings...
I tried to explain about how you can show emotions through color and form and I also told them a little how his life; how kind he was and how much he cared about people. They couldn't understand why he drew "ugly" people. I tried to explain the beauty of truth, sincerity and sensitivity.
I just couldn't express myself fully enough to convince them.
Anyone out there, an art teacher maybe - have any suggestions for me as to how I can better explain Van Gogh to my family so that they can appreciate more what they saw?
"What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience?" - Rollo May from The Courage to Create
03-12-2000, 01:01 AM
He drew the people he knew, lived with and around. He spent a lot of time in the coal mining district of western france. The miners made just enough money to buy bread so they could work tomorrow. They were not worried about their appearances, only surviving one more day. They were dirty and poor. He was so empathetic to the people he began to live on old bread crusts and black coffee. After an on going diet of this he began to break down and had a number of problems. If you were not well to do in that frame in time then life was pretty close to hell.He painted and drew these faces much of the time.
03-12-2000, 03:51 AM
I think this has to do with the way you look at art. It is similar to appreciating fine wine - at first you can almost only tell the difference between white and red. As with art, you simply can not perceive the finer qualities - things just fall in the category 'yuck', 'good' or 'indifferent'.
After being exposed to many experiences and learning the facts there is a point where insight is reached - you see art differently, can taste the difference between Chateu Mouton Rotchild '82 and '72, etc.
Keep dragging them to museums and explain how you see things - one day they will get it...
On Van Gogh - saw a mini series about his life (dramatization) on TV some years back - if you can find that, it may give your family a push in the right direction...
There has been a show about Van Gogh on PBS this last week. Check your TV schedule. Its about his life. I think it was called Van Gogh's Van Gogh. It was very good and gives you an excelent insite to his life and about who, what and why he painted what he did. I have been a big Van Gogh fan since I studied his work in High school in the early 70's. Hope this helps.
03-18-2000, 07:45 PM
With risking sounding cliched, maybe you could expand 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. You could say that art is the expression of what one person sees around them and that van Gogh was a complicated person with a complicated life. He painted what he saw.
03-26-2000, 04:57 PM
Me again! I went to the National Gallery of Britain on Friday - I've only ever been once before and it was so excellent. So good to see the amazing paintings that we always see in books. I saw van Gogh's Sunflowers and the painting of his chair in the studio. It was so exciting. I saw, Rembrant, Cezanne, Seurat, Monet and much more. It's so inspiring to see them in real life. The one thing I noticed was that the one of van Gogh's chair was written up as being oil on canvas but when you look real close, the canvas looks more like hessian. Anyone know exactly what they would mean by canvas from van Gogh's day?
He held Vision above Skill. (Incidentally, I'm not saying the two are completely separate). I'm not sure the following analogies work for Van Gogh (or your family), but perhaps you can ask: Robotech was drawn with much more skill than the Simpsons. But do they like the Simpsons? Classical music is more intricate than Rock music, but do they like Rock?
That ought to stick it to them. (after all, everyone likes the Simpsons and Rock music, right?)
03-28-2000, 03:58 AM
From "Techniques of the World's Greatest Painters" "He (van Gogh) preferred an ordinary weight canvas, and frequently used commercially primed types in a range of pale tints, especially gray and putty. He also experimented with raw, unprimed canvas and heavy sackcloth fabrics." In the painting titled "Chair with Pipe" he used a hessian canvas, it's color a warm, orange-brown.
03-28-2000, 08:24 AM
I don't like the Simpsons. And if you mean this new Rock music....don't like that either.
03-28-2000, 05:21 PM
Thanks Malarkey for clearing that one up for me, I was sure it was hessian. It also seemed strange to me that I could see so much of the edge of his canvas, normally it seems that the framer would cover the edges up more but in this case, they are quite well shown. Still, I'm glad it was done that way, it's so interesting to be able to see the actual canvas.
03-30-2000, 04:20 PM
One could take them to a Jackson Pollock exhibit and your husband won't think that Van Gogh is so off the wall. On a more serious note, my wife does not really understand art that is not attempting to mimic the real world. She likes the Impressionists but anything more abstract or expressionist than their work and I get a bad review. I now just choose to discuss these types of work with other individuals closer to my viewpoint. She won't drink red wine either so I have a number of lost causes on my hands.
04-14-2000, 10:27 PM
[Another Van Gogh experience:
A couple years ago I found myself in Helsinki with a few hours to kill so I went to the rather forlorn municipal art museum. Room after room of dark, dank, dismal looking paintings of rotting fish, saga heros, etc. badly lit and poorly conserved. Then I stepped into another room of maybe 25-30 paintings, a few interesting ones by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, but all of the sudden at the far end of the room a painting reached out, grabbed me by the shoulders, turned me around and said "look at me !, Look at Me !, LOOK AT ME !! And there it was, the only Van Gogh in the whole museum. A landscape, not even one of his better known works. I did not recognize what it was at first, but just stood there really stunned by the glow it shed in that dim room. Then it dawned on me who had created it.
04-15-2000, 03:35 AM
Keep taking the kids to galleries and they'll eventually appreciate everything their natural timbres allow them to.
But I wouldn't try ramming van Gogh down their throats. Kids automatically turn their heads when faced with a spoonful of something they've decided they don't like. As with the strained peas, just leave it near them and don't say a word. Sooner or later they'll give it an honest try.
Maybe in the end they'll decide that, upon closer inspection, they TRULY don't like van Gogh. No big deal. Van Gogh is almost universally admired. The world could use a few more informed van Gogh detractors.
[This message has been edited by s mckee (edited April 15, 2000).]
06-07-2000, 11:12 AM
Just a thought. Maybe instead of trying to convince them of your view, maybe try to see it through their eyes. Maybe they are seeing it with a vision unadulterated by others views, and the weight of books, critics, etc.
I like a lot of Van Goghs, but I recently went to the Van Gogh museum in Holland, and was surprised. He did some stinkers too. We're all human, he too. And it's good to see things as you honestly see them, not try to twist your vision to agree with the accepted things.
06-08-2000, 12:18 AM
You might get a book of Van Gogh's letters. A family project, read and discuss.
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