24 October 2008

Van Gogh goes off

The third one is almost better and is a sketch of the market he did last year, which seems, however, to have changed since then to represent a Spanish rather than a Dutch market, at least so far as anything can be made out in it at all. What sort of wares are being sold in the market, where it may be – I, for my part, doubt it is meant to be on this globe, and to the naive spectator it would seem to represent a scene on one of the planets that Jules Verne's miraculous travellers were in the habit of visiting (by projectile). It is impossible to be specific about the wares actually being sold, though seen from afar it could be enormous quantities of candied fruit or sweetmeats.

Now, you try to imagine something like that, but as absurd as can be and heavy-handed to boot, and you have the work of friend Breitner. From a distance it looks like patches of faded colour on bleached, mouldering, and mildewy wallpaper and in that respect it has some qualities, which to me are none the less positively objectionable.

I simply fail to comprehend how it is possible for anyone to produce such things.

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