I am about to say something really, really shocking. And I know you will hate me for it, hate me forever. FOREVER!
OK, here goes nothing.
Up until last April, I honestly hated (Post-) Impressionism from the bottom of my heart.
Yes, it is true.
And I am sorry now.
Let me explain myself.
Actually, there is no real explanation for my disgust. I was never really into both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. The fact that I have been to the Van Gogh museum too many times when I was in secondary school didn’t really help me appreciate it. In fact, it worked contrarily: with every visit, my appreciation for the building grew, but in the same manner, the paintings got more loathsome.
Over the years I have actually only liked two of Van Gogh’s paintings: ‘Skull of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette’ (just because I like morbid art) and ‘Wheatfield with Crows’ (also because of the dark colours that probably speak to my inner being).
Two years ago I was in Paris. I did not go to the Musée D’Orsay. This was a deliberate choice. Paris itself had already deeply disappointed me (except for Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) and adding a museum full of Impressionist art to my lousy Paris experience would only make matters worse. So instead I strolled through the city and along the Seine.
I know this is an unforgivable thing to do, but you might be relieved about the following thing I am about to tell.
Last April, I went to Cologne and I visited Das Wallraff-Richardz Museum. This is a privately owned museum, situated in an amazing building with an extraordinary art collection. Starting with medieval art on the first floor, working its way chronologically up to (Post-) Impressionism on the top floor. Perhaps it was because of the natural state of ecstasy I was in from being in Cologne, but this was the first time that I saw a “classic” Van Gogh painting that I actually liked. Like I wrote before, I need to feel the appreciation for a painting in my guts, in order to like/love it and for the first time, this was the case for a Post-Impressionist painting pur sang.
Ever since, I am taking baby steps when it comes to appreciating Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. I do not wish to kiss ass, but I must say that your lectures have helped me understanding this branch of art history better and therefore, acknowledging its æsthetics and importance is easier for me. It will only be a matter of time for me to be able to appreciate it.
At least, contrary to all those times I went before (also thanks to the exhibition in het Dolhuys), I am actually excited to go the Van Gogh museum on Wednesday.