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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Painting Provence part 5....In the Footsteps of Van Gogh

'From Van Gogh's Window'         10x8         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $150 click here
On the third day of the trip we decided we needed to make a plan. We all had places that we wanted to see and we wanted to make sure everyone's wish list was satisfied. We started a master list and made a touring plan. We wanted to have quiet stay at home days with touring days and of course we needed to consider market days!  We all agreed that a visit to St. Remy de Provence should be on the list and two of us wanted to make sure we saw St. Paul de Mausole, the asylum where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year.

I had visited Van Gogh's resting place in Auvers sur Oise a few years ago on a Painter's Passport trip with Stan Sperlak. I needed to go to St Remy to see the place that inspired so many of Van Gogh's later works. We put it on the schedule and headed to St. Remy for an inspiring day. We shopped, we ate a yummy lunch at a sidewalk cafe and we spent some time visiting they asylum of St. Pauls de Mausole.  


The irises and Van Gogh's painting

St Paul de Mausole
Here is a bit of history taken from an information sheet at St. Pauls:
"Thus it happened that Vincent Van Gogh was hospitalized at his own request in the men's pavilion from May 1889 to May 1890.  Fascinated by the quality of light and the beauty of the countryside that he discovered around him here, stimulated and encouraged by the calm climate and the understanding of the NUM's and the medical staff who looked after him, he produced more than 100 drawings and 150 paintings.  The time spent in St. Remy is considered today to b one of the most important periods in the work of the artist. Many famous paintings were executed here, 'The Irises', The Wheat Field and the Harvester', The Asylum St Paul' to name a few.  Vincent Van Gogh left St. Paul de Mausole on the 16 May 1890 to go to Auvers sur Oise where he died two months later"

Van Gogh's bedroom at St. Pauls
 It was especially moving to see Van Gogh's room and to look out the window to see the view he saw.  It dawned on me that in his paintings of his view there were no bars. This is an important lesson that I will be sharing in my workshops!

Bars on the window.....yet he didn't see the bars. What an important lesson for us.


 It was a hot summer day but I wanted to walk in his footsteps. I went outside into the gardens. I took many photos of the sunflowers and the wheat field and the distant cypress trees. I could feel the peacefulness though it was hardly quiet with the din of the cigales (cicadas) Click on the video below to spend a few seconds in the wheat field. Listen to the sounds of summer in St. Remy.





The wheat field behind St. Pauls

Did Van Gogh sit here?
I am so happy I was able to see this place at my own pace and with my small group of 4 friends. There were many 'Van Gogh' tours and as we were leaving a bus load of people were taking over the peace and quiet. We quickly left satisfied and filled with inspiration.

There are still paintings from my trip to Provence available in my Etsy shop. Click here to have a closer look. 

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