Starry Night-Vincent.

Vincent

So many books have been written about the tormented artist,Vincent van Gogh , so there is no way I can add anything to his story.

My focus in this blog is about an event that took place this day, July 27th, 1890.

On 27 July 1890, aged 37, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a 7mm Lefaucheux à broche revolver.

gun

No one had witness the act and he died 30 hours after the incident.It is assumed the shooting took place in the wheat field in which he had been painting, or a local barn.The bullet was deflected by a rib and passed through his chest without doing apparent damage to internal organs – probably stopped by his spine. He was able to walk back to the Auberge Ravoux, where he was attended to by two doctors, but without a surgeon present the bullet could not be removed. The doctors tended to him as best they could, then left him alone in his room, smoking his pipe. The following morning Theo rushed to his brother’s side, finding him in good spirits. But within hours Vincent began to fail, suffering from an untreated infection resulting from the wound. He died in the early hours of 29 July. According to Theo, Vincent’s last words were: “The sadness will last forever”.

Van Gogh was distraught about his future because, in May of that year, his brother Theo had visited and spoke to him about needing to be stricter with his finances. Van Gogh took that to mean Theo was no longer interested in selling his art.

Vincent van Gogh died in the arms of his brother.

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Such a tragic life.

Starry night

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The Train Violin.

violin 1

The following story may not seem like much for anyone who is not a musician. But a musician will understand the significance of it and can identify with the sense of loss and sacrifice.

A musician’s instrument is more then a tool it becomes part of him or her.nearly a member of the family.

The violin from Lyon or the Train Violin

In July 1942 thousands of Jews were arrested in Paris and sent by cattle trains to concentration camps in the East, most of them to Auschwitz. On one of the packed trains was a man holding a violin. When the train stopped somewhere along the sad roads of France, the man heard voices speaking French, a few men were working on the railways fixing them and walking at leisure. The man in the train cried out:

“In the place where I now go – I don’t need a violin. Here, take my violin so it may live!”

The man threw his violin out the narrow window. It landed on the rails and was picked up by one of the French workers. For many years the violin had no life. No one played it. No one had any use for it. Years later the worker passed away and his children found the abandoned violin in the attic. They soon looked to sell it to a local maker in the South of France and told him the story they heard from their father. The French violin maker heard about Violins of Hope and gave it to us, so the violin will live.

violin 3

One Violin

Two Hands

Four Strings

Ten Fingers

Thousands  pieces of music

One Haunting Memory

One Final Farewell

One Revival

The soul of the musician is heard again.

The spirits are lifted one more time.

You can kill the artist but you can’t kill the art.

 

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Sources

Violins of Hope

YouTube

 

Painting for Mengele.

Painting

When you look at some bizarre connections in History, you cannot escape the fact that life sometimes has a ironic way of weaving a tapestry of coincidences.

One of Hitler’s favourite movies was the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” released in 1937.

Disney

One of the main animators of the movie was Art Babbitt. an animator who joined the Disney studio in 1932. He  was born to a Jewish family in Omaha, Nebraska.

But that’s not where this tapestry of coincidences,or even fate, stops.

Dina Gottliebová was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on January 21, 1923 .She was raised by her Mother, Johanna Schawl, a lone parent . Her mother had left Dina’s father when she was only 4 months old.

When Snow white and the Seven dwarfs was released, Dina must have seen the movie at least 7 times.

In 1939, when the Germans invaded her homeland, Dina was living in Prague, where she had enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1942  Dina’s mother received a summons that the Jews were being moved. Dina  left school and volunteered to be shipped out with her mother to , Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia.

Thersien

She was actually sent to Theresienstadt on Jan. 21, 1942, her 19th birthday. Dina and her mother stayed there until Sept. 7, 1943 when they were among 5,000 people transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

In 1944, while in Auschwitz, Dina was chosen by Mengele to draw portraits of Roma Gypsy prisoners .Mengele wished to capture the Roma’s skin coloration better than he could with camera and film at that time. Dina agreed if her own mother’s life were spared as well,Mengele agreed.

One of the people she painted was called Celine. Dina says of painting her muse back in 1944.

“She was very sad and I said, ‘Are you sick?’”  “Celine  said, ‘My baby just died.’ It was a 2-month-old baby and she couldn’t get anything to feed the baby and didn’t have any milk. And Celine couldn’t eat anything. We had black bread with something in it—too much bran or something that made people sick—and I said, ‘Well, can I help with something?’ She said, ‘You can get some white bread.’”

Dina asked Mengele for some white bread. He delivered and Dina sneaked it to Celine, but unfortunately Celine did not survive the death camp. (I believe the portrait below is of Celine but I could not verify it, But it is definitely one of Dina’s paintings)

celine portarit

Both Dina and her Mother survived the Holocaust.Dina moved to the US after the war.

However this is not where this tapestry of life stops. There was to be one more twist to Dina’s life. On April 27,1949, Dina married Art Babbitt. The man who was the main animator of the movie she had watched so many times.

Their marriage didn’t last though. They got divorced in 1963. Dina died aged 86 on July 29,2009, in Santa Cruz California

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Sources

Goodtimes.sc

The Jewish News of Northern California

IMDb.

 

 

 

Mona Lisa smiles, but was she happy?

Mona Lisa

One of the most famous paintings, if not the most famous painting is the Mona Lisa,painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

In 1503 or 1504 Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint Lisa del Giocondo (nee Gherardini), the painting became known as the Mona Lisa. Aged 15, real-life Lisa Gherardini married Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo. a modestly successful cloth and silk merchant, becoming his third wife. Lisa’s dowry( the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband or his family in marriage)was 170 florins and the San Silvestro farm near her family’s country home.

Francesco del Giocondo,regularly bought girls from North Africa and converted them to Christianity with many working as maids at the del Giocondo household. However there would have been too many to work in the household, it is therefor very likely he sold some of the girls as slaves.

husband

Lisa’s sister Camilla,  who was a nun, caused a scandal when she and some other nuns were accused of allowing four men to touch them indecently.

I wonder how much reasons did Lisa have to smile.

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Sources

Martin Kemp and Giuseppe Pallanti: Mona Lisa: The People and The Painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Suitcase

suitcase

A suitcase has a significant meaning , it indicates a change, often temporary and sometimes for an extended time, but no one ever expects the symbol of the end of a life.

Many songs have the word suitcase in their lyrics and it is often in a sad context like in the Beatles son Lady Madonna the line says “Friday night arrives without a suitcase” indicating yet another weekend has come still trying to make ends meet, without getting a break.

But a suitcase can also bring excitement for there is an imminent journey, heading to perhaps exotic places. A break from the daily grind, time to refresh yourself.Or it can signify a new start beginning.

suitcase 2

The Nazi’s had one plan for the Jews and one plan only they referred to it as ‘die Endlösung” or “Final Solution”, the eradication of all Jews.But just killing them wasn’t good enough they also had to be humiliated. They were also given false hope. They were told they were going to be resettled to the east, where they would have a ‘new beginning’.

All they could take though was one suitcase, they were instructed to mark their suitcases for later identification..

I have thought about this , what would I take if I was told I could take only 1 suitcase?. I would pack some clothes but above everything else I would pack things which were dear to me, photographs, keepsakes of family members,heirlooms and in my case also music.

I am sure that most people would pack similar things.Many Jews also believed they would return to their homes after the nightmare which was World War 2 was over, they didn’t know they would end up in an even worse nightmare . the holocaust, and they would never see their belongings or loved ones again for they were murdered often in the most brutal way possible. And even for those who survived their belongings would have been spread all over the world, the Nazis made sure of that.

They had special units who were tasked and specialized in stealing all belongings of the Jews and emptying the homes of Jews. Units like the Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce.

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The stolen art would end up in places like Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, which was used by the likes of Hermann Göring as an art Supermarket where he could go in and take whatever he fancied, without paying anything for it. He didn’t even mind taking the so called Degenerate art.

Jeu

His henchman ,the art dealer Bruno Lohse, would ensure to get a good price for the stolen goods making himself and Göring wealthy men. Unlike Göring who committed suicide before he could be sentenced, Lohse would live a long and comfortable life, he died in 2007 aged 95. A few weeks after his death in May 2007, the seizure of a secret Zurich bank vault registered to Schönart Anstalt ( which had been under Lohse’s control since 1978) turned up a valuable Camille Pissarro painting stolen by the Gestapo from the Fischer family in 1938 when they fled the Nazis and left Vienna, as well as paintings of uncertain provenance by Monet and Renoir.

pisarro

Still to this day stolen jewelry,art and furniture is showing up and sold on antique markets all over Germany and other European countries.

Even the possibility to pass family belongings to future generations was denied to those who were murdered in the concentration camps and the death camps, often all that remains to remind us that they even existed is a suitcase with a name written on it.

Leon

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In the end Hitler and his mates were pathetic hypocrites.

loot 1

One of the things I can’t comprehend is the fact that no one appear to be seeing through the lies and hypocrisy of the Nazi regime.

They saw they Jews as vermin and filth. And everything Jewish was forbidden, Jewish books were burned, Jewish music was banned. Basically in the eyes of Hitler and his cronies the Jews were a contaminated and tainted race.

Here is the thing if I find something tainted and contaminated I want nothing to do with it, and want to stay as far away from it and everything it came in contact with.

That is also the message the Nazi spread. However they were not afraid the steal art and valuables belonging to Jews. They even would go as far as taking the gold teeth or gold dental caps of those they had murdered in the gas chambers, to remelt the gold and use it again.

dental caps

They had an organisation dedicated to steeling art and valuables. The ‘Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg’ or Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce, were tasked to to confiscate:

  • precious manuscripts and books from national libraries and archives;
  • important artifacts of ecclesiastical authorities and Masonic lodges;
  • all valuable cultural property belonging to Jews.ERR_Seal

They must have been one of the busiest Nazi task force  by their own estimates until 17 October 1944, they transitioned, 1,418,000 railway wagons containing books and works of art as well as 427,000 tonnes by ship.Neuschwanstein Castle was the ERR’s principal storage facility, but they also used salt mines and other places.

castle

Some of the art was only found decades after the war and some was never found. Below are and valuables  just some impressions of the are recovered by the allied troops. The first picture is a famous picture and although it is not graphic it is nonetheless harrowing for it is a picture of gold rings, of victims of concentration camps.

Rings

Loot 2

loot 3

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Rembrandt’s tragedies

Nachtwacht

There is this funny riddle, it goes like “What’s Rembrandt’s first name?” Rembrandt of course is his first name, his last name is van Rijn.

But unlike the riddle his life wasn’t funny. He suffered many tragedies in his life.He got married on June 22 1634 to Saskia van Uylenburgh.

Rembrandt en Saskia.JPG

Saskia was the cousin of a friend of Rembrandt,Hendrick van Uylenburgh, Hendrick was also an art dealer. and when Rembrandt first moved to Amsterdam he stayed with  van Uylenburgh.

Rembrandt and Saskia got married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the any of Rembrandt’s family being present.

Their first born, a son by the name Rumbartus died in 1635, only 2 months after birth.Their first daughter Cornelia died in 1638, she was only 3 weeks old. Their second daughter also called Cornelia died in 1640 who barely lived for a month.

In 1941 their 4th child, a son called Titis was born.Saskia died in 1642 most likely from tuberculosis. Titus survived into adulthood and became a monk for a while.

Monk Titus

Rembrandt never remarried but he did have a long term relationship with Hendrickje Stoffels, who had initially been his maid. They had a daughter together in 1654, and to no surprise she was called Cornelia, who died in 1684 in Batavia, Java, Indonesia.

His son Titus did marry Magdalena van Loo, the daughter of a Silversmith.

Rembrandt outlived both Hendrickje, who died in 1663, and Titus, who died in 1668, leaving a baby daughter,Titia. He died within a year of his son, on 4 October 1669 in Amsterdam. His son’s wife and mother-in-law also died in 1669.

selfie

 

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Art of the Holocaust

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This will be a blog with vert few words but mostly pictures. Pictures drawn by victims of the Holocaust. The artists are unknown, or at least unknown to me. but the art tells a bleak story of daily life in the concentration camps.

The above picture is of a clergy man holding some sort of church service, in the right bottom corner a bible verse is mentioned. Matthew 24:24

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Gas chamber

1

These speak for themselves

2

3a

4

The following pictures are all from the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

 

6

7

8

 

9

10

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Nazi Thievery

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There are so many analysis done about the Nazis and their psyche etc. But if you strip it down to basics all they were was a bunch of vile criminals with a warped ideology and sense of self importance, led by a delusional failed artist.

Even at the end they still worshiped this little man who actually wasn’t even born in Germany.

With torn picture of his feuhrer beside his clenched fist, a dead general of the Volkssturm lies on the floor of city hall, Leipzig, Germany. He committed suicide rather than face U.S. Army troops who captured the city on April 19. 1945.

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Aside from being thugs and murderers they were also thieves. Unfortunately a lot of their stolen goods was never recovered, but below are pictures of stolen goods which the Nazis weren’t able to keep hidden.

Manet s Wintergarden A painting by the french impressionist Edouard Manet, titled Wintergarden , discovered in the vault at Merkers

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Generals Eisenhower and Bradley General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, and General Omar N. Bradley, CG, 12th Army Group, examine a suitcase of silverware, part of German loot stored in a salt mine at Merkers.

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Looted Art Treasures General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Allied commander, inspects art treasures looted by the Germans and stored away in the Merkers salt mine. Behind GEN Eisenhower are General Omar N. Bradley (left), CG of the 12th Army Group, and (right) LT Gen George S. Patton, Jr

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Troops find loot hidden in church German loot stored in church at Ellingen, Germany found by troops of the U.S. Third Army

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Durer Engraving M. SGT Harold Maus of Scranton, PA is pictured with the Durer engraving, found among other art treasures at Merker

Durer Collection
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Rembrant Painting An unknown Rembrant recovered safe in Munich

ERR Rembrandt
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The Graces in the Gardens of the Hesperides A Rubens painting The Graces in the Gardens of the Hesperides taken by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg

ERR Looted painting
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Saphor Torahs Chaplain Samuel Blinder examines one of the hundreds of Saphor Torahs (sacred scrolls) part of a cache of Hebrew and Jewish books that were stolen and collected from every occupied country in Europe.

Saphor Torahs
111-SC-209154

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Van Gogh playing it by ear

 

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Pardon the pun in the title but I couldn’t resist.

On December 23  1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cut off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France.He later documented the event in a painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.

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Van Gogh and Gauguin visited Montpellier in December 1888, where they saw works by Courbet and Delacroix in the Musée Fabre.Their relationship began to deteriorate; Van Gogh admired Gauguin and wanted to be treated as his equal, but Gauguin was arrogant and domineering, which frustrated Van Gogh. They often quarrelled; Van Gogh increasingly feared that Gauguin was going to desert him, and the situation, which Van Gogh described as one of “excessive tension”, rapidly headed towards crisis point.

The official version about van Gogh’s legendary act of self-harm usually goes that the disturbed Dutch painter severed his left ear lobe with a razor blade in a fit of lunacy after he had a row with Gauguin one evening shortly before Christmas 1888.

Bleeding heavily, van Gogh then wrapped it in cloth, walked to a nearby bordello and presented the severed ear to a prostitute, who fainted when he handed it to her.

He then went home to sleep in a blood-drenched bed, where he almost bled to death, before police, alerted by the prostitute, found him the next morning.

He was unconscious and immediately taken to the local hospital, where he asked to see his friend Gauguin when he woke up, but Gauguin refused to see him.

Le_Forum_Républicain_(Arles)_-_30_December_1888_-_Vincent_van_Gogh_ear_incident

However rumours have it the  Vincent van Gogh may have made up the whole story to protect his friend Gauguin, a keen fencer, who actually lopped it off with a sword during a heated argument.

Some historians say that the real version of events has never surfaced because the two men both kept a “pact of silence” – Gauguin to avoid prosecution.

vincent-van-gogh

 

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