I grew up with Van Gogh's 'Starry Starry Night' some where on an upstairs wall,I preferred the Modigliani and the Utrillo prints more but was then very very lucky to be taken to London in 1979 to see the Post Impressionist show at The Royal Academy.
It was my grandad who took me, he loved art and I think although we never discussed it he sensed a kindred spirit in me. So we made the journey from Cambridge and it was the Van Goghs that seared themselves into my memory. The colours, the rich textures, the sheer 'dive on in' quality of them.
My favourites were the landscapes and I have been very lucky to have not only visited Arles but also the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I was I confess a little hung over having stayed up most of the night drinking cheap red wine in a jazz club and so missed the organised visit to a local school. I, (always the loner) slunk off to nurse my hang over in a gallery instead. Probably not the best place but the images were enough to wake me up and lust to own one of the smaller landscapes.
Now this exhibition is on again at the Royal Academy, and despite some unfair criticism I loved it, I loved the juxtaposition of letters, with studies in pen & ink, with the paintings. I even loved the ginky colours they had painted the walls to match the colours in his paintings.
Best of all, I loved the fact that both Leyla and Kitty managed to walk around the entire exhibition without brawling. I was aided by the fact that I had the foresight to feed them first. Can you believe two tiny girls polished of a bowl of olives (Not Kitty) dough balls dipped in garlic butter, a full sized pizza and a huge ice cream sundae...each?
At the gallery because Leyla had hurt her back the previous night she hobbled around and sat down. Kitty was great, she managed in the same breath to comment on a sub standard image in one of the letters (it was by Gauguin!) tell me her arm itched and ask what the humidifier did. Oh to be in that head.
I escaped the shop with a catalogue and an origami set, nope I don't know either ask Leyla.
Kitty begged for a £17 jigsaw puzzle, but her list of others needs is to long for such fripperies. on the way out Kitty proclaimed the exhibition "Really rather good" rare praise indeed.