Friday, February 17, 2012

The Asylum at Saint-Rémy

Saint-Paul de Mausole is a functioning mental hospital today as it was when Van Gogh admitted himself there in 1889.  The month after Vincent's arrival at Saint Paul he painted his iconic Starry Night. 

On our France reconnoiter trip in 2002 it was determined that I needed to paint there.  What contributes to the atmosphere of this place is that it is built on the Roman Ruins of Glanum and beneath them are Greek ruins.  The earth fairly vibrates with centuries of spirits.

THE OLIVE GROVE AT SAINT PAUL'S   2004 oil 24" x 36"   Collection of Ken Hayes

We booked a little apartment on the outskirts of Saint-Rémy for the month of October 2003, and the day we checked in we drove back to Saint Paul.  It was early evening, the visitor and cloister portion of the hospital was closed for the day, there was one car in the parking lot and not a soul in sight.  Walking around, outside the south wall, I stopped short and exclaimed "Somebody is painting!"  "Where" asked Bill?  I replied that I couldn't see anyone (and there was no one in view) but I could smell paints as strongly as I have ever smelled them, and I will never be convinced that I did not.

In the previous post I showed you the painting I am working on here:

Painting the Alpilles at Saint Paul, October 2003

Van Gogh's painting Field with Pollard Trees and Mountainous Background, 1889 oil 28.75" x 36"
Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands   

THE RUINS OF GLANUM (and the south wall of Saint Paul's)    2003 plein air oil 12" x 16"   available framed $1100.

Working on The Ruins of Glanum

I know the collector of the painting below will surely recognize the stand of trees behind me.

ON VAN GOGH'S TRAIL   2004 oil 8" x 10"   Collection of Win Dinn

1 comment:

  1. Love your story about the smell of paint, Alice - and I am still as enamoured with my 'On Van Gogh's Trail' as I was on sight! I should have known there was an ethereal story involved...