Saturday, September 19, 2009
Van Gogh on NPR
In her December 3rd article for NPR Susan Stanberg called Portland's Ox Cart, "dark as coffee grounds". I appreciate the lyricism of a good journalist. She ended that article by stating that this work is one of the last before "sunshine broke on Van Gogh's canvas and changed everything". Stanberg's article described the relationship between the Sohn family, donors of the Ox Cart, and PAM curator Bruce Guenther. Included are some good photos of Guenther examining the painting and the family over whom the painting hung for 40 plus years.
In 2003 NPR's Michele Norris did a piece on Van Gogh's painting Moonrise. By examining San Remi's moon cycle from May to Sept of 1889 (May,when Van Gogh got to Provence and Sept. when he mailed the painting to his brother, Theo) scientists were able to track the exact day and time the painting was made. The golden wheat piled in stacks assured the scientists that the field was not painted in May, but during the harvest, which would have taken place in July. Because of the full moon they knew it was the 13th of July. Because of the placement of the moon in the sky, they knew it was 9:13 p.m. Norris' interview puts the listener in that field at that moment, with Van Gogh. NPR chose this story shortly before July 13th 2003 when, in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun would set and the moon would rise exactly the same way as they did for Van Gogh over a century before.
I remember listening to Norris' report, as well as the one in 2007 about Portland's acquisition. Thank goodness for good news.