Hello dear readers! Welcome to another Quotable Thursday.
I am super excited to share this quote with you this week, as it has to do with my recent travels earlier this month. I was lucky enough to go on a 10 day trip with our church choir (no, I do not sing) that started in Barcelona, Spain. We spent three days there, and then traveled through southern France and ended up in Nice for our last few days. The choir had two opportunities to sing a cappella in Barcelona, and then we had two concerts in France where I got to join in playing tone chimes and a little percussion.
(I bet you are asking yourself, that’s great, but where does the book quote come in? Well…I’ll tell you.)
I didn’t get a lot of reading done on the trip. We were pretty busy. I slowly worked my way through Bronzed Betrayals by Ritter Ames, reading a little before I went to sleep each evening. (By the way, I really enjoyed Bronzed Betrayals – it’s the latest outing in Ms. Ames series involving art heists. I’m hoping to get a review up tomorrow!)
The night we arrived in Arles, France, I opened up my reader to this:
Unless the boys disagreed, I planned to suggest we do any discussion in room forty-three of the gallery, where I could gaze on one of the four Sunflowers paintings that Van Gogh completed in 1888 immediately before he and Paul Gauguin shared the little yellow house in Arles, France. I loved how he wrote about the series to his brother Theo, saying “I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, the flowers fade so quickly.” It was the kind of reminder I needed to seize every opportunity of the day—no matter how small—while I had the chance.
He painted this series in early fall, 1888. Originally, the artist planned a full dozen panels to decorate Gauguin’s room in the Yellow House in Arles, but ultimately just four were completed in his goal. Gauguin and Van Gogh parted company after only nine tumultuous weeks of trying to form their artistic community, the “Studio of the South.” A fifth painting, a replication of this London work, was completed in January 1889 at Gauguin’s request, about six months before Van Gogh’s death. That fifth painting, experts believe, is the copy hanging in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. The two men were ill-suited in this artistic partnership and living situation, but Gauguin knew the sunflowers were Van Gogh’s seminal work and continued to say so. When he returned to Paris, leaving Arles only a few months after he’d arrived, he asked Van Gogh to send the copy for him to keep.
Pretty awesome, right?! The next day we had a walking tour of Arles and, along with Roman ruins, our guide took us to see a lot of Van Gogh sights around the old city including the area where he lived (unfortunately, the yellow house no longer stands), the cafe that inspired his painting Café Terrace at Night, and the hospital where he was taken when he cut of his ear.
It was so fun to read about a place (and a person and their art) and then see it the next morning. What an awesome experience to walk where Van Gogh did.