ARC Chairman on Van Gogh

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ARC Chairman on Van Gogh


Published before 2005

K. Reeves wrote:

Absolutely wonderful site. Thank you for all your hard work in promoting and preserving genuine art as opposed to the postmodern garbage that has been dumped into our country's museums, schools, and universities. Your work is greatly appreciated.

I have a question, if I might be allowed: Does Art Renewal Center have an "official" position on the works of Vincent van Gogh? I am really just curious, because I personally like much of his earlier, slower work, but dislike much of his later work that was hastily painted. I'm fascinated by van Gogh the man, but his later works really do little for me. I can't bring myself to stand in public awe of paintings such as "Wheat Field with Crows" or "The Red Vineyard". Anyway, does ARC have an official stance on van Gogh's work?

Thank you, and again, great work!

K. Reeves

Fred Ross wrote:


Actually Van Gogh is the one exception where we have included his work even though he's considered a post-impressionist like Cezanne and Matisse neither of whom we have on the ARC website.

Van Gogh was psychotic and much of his artwork is honestly attempting to capture how he viewed the world. Some of them are quite powerful. He was not trying to prove that the canvas is flat as were the other two artists and as were generations of modernists after them.

Fine art is one way human beings communicate our shared humanity in much the way poetry and theatre do the same. Modernism is self-consciously obsessed with discarding prior rules and methods and they love to say that the academic realist artists of their times were lying to their audience and trying to create 3 dimensional illusions when the truth of painting is that all the work is on flat surfaces and only those which embrace the flat canvas are worthy as artists.

But every 3 year old knows the canvases are flat and the magic comes by successfully conveying powerful compositions about life and living which speaks to the viewer more powerfully if the scene looks more like the world around us which we all experience in 3 dimensions not 2. The greatest works enable the viewer to "suspend disbelief" much the way that is considered the major goal in great theatre.

Is it more inane to paint scenes about family life or the trials of adolescents, or the suffering of poverty or of war? Or is it more inane and banal to self-consciously prove that the canvas is flat and then spend your entire career doing that over and over again?

Please see Why Realism?

I hope this helps,
Fred Ross