2012-09-13 / Lifestyles

Gogh-ing, Gogh-ing, Gone

Lois A. Corcoran

You may recall a recent column of mine about the rotating art exhibit at the local City Hall. Among other intelligent remarks, I mentioned my relief that it contains no abstract paintings of Van Gogh.

If it pleases the court, I’d like to strike that comment from the record.

An alert reader who also happens to be a retired art teacher spotted my booboo and called it to my attention. Her letter explained that Van Gogh “was dead some 50 years” before “Abstract Expressionism” came into fashion.

My bad.

She went on to say that if we were so lucky to have a Van Gogh, “there would be absolutely no guessing which side was up.” I received said letter two weeks after she wrote it. As one who replies to reader correspondence as soon as I get it, I felt compelled to call and explain the time lapse.

After confirming that I was speak-ing with the right gal, I identified myself, and an awkward pause en-sued.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“Um,” I replied. “You wrote me a letter... about my column.... Appar-ently, someone at the newspaper office sat on it for awhile.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, “Now I remember.”

We discussed her expertise and my lack thereof. “As a retired art teacher, I just could not let that slide. Am I the only one who wrote to correct you?” she asked.

“Yup,” I replied.

Apparently, not many appreciators of fine art read my column.

After running a Google search of Van Gogh at her suggestion, I discovered she’s right. While some of his works are more appealing than others, none of them requires a sign reading “This side up”. Thus, I stand corrected, and with a two-egg omelet on my face.

As a fan of spuds, my favorite of his works would have to be “Potato Eaters”. The “Poppies” he painted look real, too. However, it appears he may have smoked some of their opium before painting “Starry Night”.

Incidentally, at the risk of offending a whole new group of people, the artist whose work makes me scratch my head is actually Picasso.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Retired Art Teacher, not only for setting the record straight but for giving me something to write about this week.

And with that, I’m gogh-ing, gogh-ing, gone.

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