Friday, June 19, 2015

Aix-en-Provence and Jeanne Louise Calment

On my trip to the South of France, I was reminded that Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, also lived in Arles from 1888 to 1889. Jeanne Louise Calment was born in 1875 and said that at the age of 13 she met Vincent van Gogh, when he came into her uncle's shop to buy canvas in 1888. McCook Daily Gazette (Paris) reported that Calment had found van Gogh to be "dirty, badly dressed, and disagreeable.” Evidently fascinated by the Provençal landscapes, van Gogh is said to have produced over 300 paintings and drawings during his time there, including: the Yellow Room, The Night Cafe, L'ArlĂ©sienne Starry, and Night Over the Rhone. It was during this period of time that van Gogh's mental health deteriorated and he became alarmingly eccentric, culminating in the well-known ear-severing incident in December 1888, which resulted in two stays in the Old Hospital of Arles. Jeanne Louise may have known about the 'ear' incident. Hmmm.

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