Vincent's Yellow

a[n] [auto]biography and a love story.

Auvers-sur-Oise: Part 1

Auvers, where you lived for such a brief period – the last of your life – in 1890. Auvers, where you painted seventy paintings in seventy days. Auvers, where you shot yourself, where you died, where your bones still reside.

A block from the train stop, things look familiar.

The town hall.

Ghosts greet me.

The Auberge Ravoux, where you stayed, and my goodness that crystal light and blue, blue sky – clear as a bell.

This building has become a little chapel to you, the restaurant and facade restored and preserved as much as possible, down to the menu.

The back yard now has plaques full of your biography, and yes — your room is open to the public. They allow us to enter in small groups; it is a startlingly small space. Here you lived, here you piled up your paintings, here you stumbled back to after shooting yourself in the field, here you died with your brother holding your hand two days later.

Apparently after that it was deemed “the suicide room” and no one would stay there. The room was never altered or redecorated. It is the same today as the day you died.

It remains quite full.

The entrance to the room:

I touched this. You touched this. I let my fingers run over the door knob, the lock, the handle on the window. I wondered if the cracks in the walls had formed since your death, or were there to begin with. I breathed in.

A friend I had made the day before captured the below images. Many thanks to him for taking them, and allowing me to share them with you now.

Affected is not a strong enough word.

Mon, October 19 2009 » Personal, Photo entries, Research, Travel

2 Responses

  1. Jeremy October 19 2009 @ 12:40

    “But I’m thinking of a wooden chair
    In a room at the top of a stair
    And I’m looking down the stairwell

    At the vanishing dot
    On the map of the spot
    Let me take you there
    The dotted line
    Surrounding the mind
    Of a self called nowhere
    It’s a thing named Id
    In a bottomless pit
    You can’t see it there
    The sunken head
    That lies in the bed
    Of a self called nowhere”

    Always thought that song was about Van Gogh – now I’m sure of it…

  2. Kathryn October 19 2009 @ 19:28

    I am overwhelmed.

    I hope it was like slipping off a too-tight shoe that bound and hurt. And when the last piece of smooth, confining leather dropped off his toes there was…relief.

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