Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

In praise of… Theo Van Gogh

Geniuses reach their giddiest heights by standing on the shoulders of less-noticed giants. Marx, for one, would have got nowhere without Engels, who provided intellectual encouragement, the cash to survive, and the empathy needed to endure boils on the behind. At least Engels got some fame of his own, unlike most of those recognised in a formulaic "lastly, thanks are due to my wife" at the start of so many books. Outside the art world, Theo van Gogh is likewise obscure, but this could change with the efforts of the Van Gogh Museum to win a wider audience for his brother's correspondence, through a new exhibition at the Royal Academy and an online database. The chief draw of the letters – beyond the sketches which litter them – is the hope of gaining insight into that private mental world which found such great expression in colour. But what really shines through is Vincent's practical life, and Theo's centrality to it. Most of the mail is addressed to him, and Vincent's thanks for "the 50-franc note your last letter contained" settle the mystery about what sustained the artist who famously sold next to nothing. But Theo did more than bankroll; an art dealer himself, it was he who first persuaded to Vincent to pick up a brush. Theo held the dying Vincent in his arms, then died a few months later himself, and, a few years later again, was reburied alongside his brother. As their bodies lie together, so their reputations should together stand tall. For without the one, the other could never have been. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Don't be the product, buy the product!