Thursday, November 18

My Latest Acrylic and a Book About a Van Gogh Portrait

Canal, Venice California
Acrylic on Paper
28 x 17 in (71 x 43 cm)
Copyright 2010
I’m feeling pretty good today. Why? Because I have accomplished three things this week.

“Only three? “ You say. No comment.

I completed my latest acrylic-on-paper painting, which is today’s image. I hope you like it. I actually have to do a little touch-up work on the bridge and a smidgen more here and there, but basically it’s finished (that’s no. 1).

In addition, I have also selected my next motif, and I am in preparation to start on it very soon (that’s no. 2).

And I finally finished reading the book, Portrait of Dr. Gachet-The Story of A Van Gogh Masterpiece by Cynthia Saltzman, that was previously listed over there in the right-hand column under The Art Book I’m Currently Reading (that’s no. 3).

I would recommend the book to anyone who is an art historian or a Vincent Van Gogh fan, or just likes to read books about art (like I do).

I would say it’s as much a book about history as it is about art. Oh, the main character is the painting of Dr. Gachet, but it’s mostly about what was going on all around the painting from its completion up until the book was published in the mid-1990s.

It takes you through the art markets in Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It follows the painting from owner to owner through World War I and the 1920s.

A good portion of the story takes place during the Nazi era in Germany through the end of World War II. As I said, it’s as much about history as art, and this part goes into a lot of interesting details about how the painting survived and was finally shipped to the western hemisphere. If you’re a history “buff,” you will like this time period.

The painting continues on its journey from the 1950s through the 1980s with descriptions of art auctions especially in the 1980s when the prices sky-rocketed. The part about the Japanese owner who acquired it in the 1990s is very interesting, and that’s where the book ends.

Of course, I had to go online to find out what, if anything, has happened to the painting since then. Don't know if this is accurate, but Wikipedia says it was sold to an Austrian investment fund manager in 1997, but has no further information.

So it seems to be somewhat of a mystery. Too bad it’s not in one of the world’s great art museums for all to enjoy.

Until next blog…

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