John Mcewen com­ments on The Old Peas­ant Pa­tience Es­calier

Country Life Every Week - - My Favourite Painting Lord Hindlip -

Van Gogh’s most fa­mous paint­ings were done in Provence, where he spent only two years—the last of his life, bar the fi­nal sum­mer. he left Paris for ar­les with a Dan­ish artist, Chris­tian Mourier-petersen, for the good of his health and pocket and with the dream of found­ing an artists’ colony.

his first in­ten­tions were soon sat­is­fied. In april, he wrote to his ever-sup­port­ive younger brother Theo, the Paris-based art dealer: ‘The air here cer­tainly does me good… one ef­fect it has on me is com­i­cal enough; one small glass of brandy makes me tipsy here, so… there will be less strain on my con­sti­tu­tion.’

The year in ar­les proved as­ton­ish­ingly pro­duc­tive—200 paint­ings and more than 100 draw­ings and wa­ter­colours, among them his Chair and Bed­room in Ar­les, The Night Cafž, the ‘sunflowers’ series and this. In mid au­gust, he wrote to Theo: ‘You are shortly to make the ac­quain­tance of Mas­ter Pa­tience Es­calier… for­merly cow-herd of the Ca­mar­gue, now gardener at a house in the Crau… I do not think it would be an in­sult to the Lautrec you have to put my peas­ant be­side it… be­cause that sun-steeped, sun-burnt qual­ity, tanned and swept with air, would show up still more be­side all that rice pow­der and el­e­gance.’

al­ways guilty about the fi­nan­cial bur­den he im­posed on Theo, he wrote: ‘I must reach the point when my pictures will cover what I spend, and even more than that, tak­ing into ac­count so much spent in the past. Well, it will come.’ never was there a truer word. no painter has more pictures in the 50-most-ex­pen­sive-ever-sold list.

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