an amazing state of hellish grace


I rage against Vincent van Gogh for needing to die at 37, after painting for only ten years. My rants mount when I see work from the last two years of his life, when he was in an amazing state of hellish grace. From February 1888, when he moved from Paris to Arles, to July 27, 1890, when he shot himself, Van Gogh painted a string of staggering masterpieces, including The Night Café and The Starry Night. These two forays into the known, unknown, inner, and outer worlds form the core of MoMA’s “Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night.”

Set aside the show’s muddled logic, the cheesy Andrew Lloyd Webber title, and the pretend rationale that this is anything more than an excuse to bring in crowds. The Night Café and The Starry Night still emit such pathos, density, and intensity that they send shivers down the spine. Whether Van Gogh thought in color or felt with his intellect, the radical color, dynamic distortion, heart, soul, and part-by-part structure in these paintings make him a bridge to a new vision and the vision itself.

more from New York Magazine here.