Tag Archives: Artiste maudit

Farewell and the Big Sleep


Just took my 3rd morphine of the evening and I’m pretty high, I suppose. Never did that until today when, after eating a few tablespoons of magic bullet liquified “food” I was so sick that I thought I’ll die. Later on I thought I will have my second operation of hernia… Anyway, I was panicking for nothing: it was just my little, plain appendix cancer in its terminal phase…Hence, the 3rd morphine…

But not about my little bodily miseries I wanted to write. Those are not interesting. And I wonder if anything else is. When one’s approaching death, things tend to loose interest, even those you thought were your life, your bread and butter, your flesh and blood…

I remember my first close encounter with the desmise of someone close, that I loved a lot: my maternal grandfather, “Moshu”/ Romanian colloquial for an old, nice relative, as I called him. A very interesting, really, character: immigrating to Germany and then to USA (since in Germany he got in a brawl and had to take off as far as possible) at 17 years old, unemployed and champion of billiard for money, then worker in Philadelphia and Chicago steel factories, then, after saving some $$$, coming back to Transylvania to buy some good land and become a farmer and the father of a large (13 children) family. My mother was the 11 th and one of his personal favorites. Become a “jandarm” (country policeman) and then a “cantor” (professional church singer) at the Sibiu Mitropoly. HAd to give that up at the regretful order of the Mitropolit (who liked him and his superb bass voice) because he was mixing business  with holy singing, being one of the first to import a Ford T model truck and other contraptions to make money for his large family. Become a modest entrepreneur before the WW2. A Russian prisoner at 52, communists confiscated his trucks and business after he returned from Siberia. And so I knew him, also as a favorite grandson, a big man, wise and not embittered too much by the turns of his fate, liking to chat, to tell stories and to drink some. Died when I was 18, in the hot summer of 1975, from cirrhosis, at 84. And, my point, not seeming to care any more for me or anyone else he loved so much before…He had a detachment, an aloofness that was hurtful and confusing and oh, so intriguing when he approached death…I did not understood it then. I start to understand it now…

That’s why, one reason, I write this. What remains, finally, after us? And I’m referring especially at “us”, artists, painters, writers and so on? Do our paintings, drawings etc. carry a meaning? a real, important meaning? Something that was worth our work, our sufferings (even if, the joy of creation kind of compensate already the “sufferings”)?

I must think they do. I must believe a very wise and interesting writer, W. H. Auden (from the Aldoux Huxley exceptional generation), who said it the best:

“Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.”

Soon enough, very probably, I’ll be dead. I certainly wish that my drawings, paintings and a few essays here and there, will find some living humans who will be willing to “break the bread” with me, through my art. My wish is for my children and grandchildren to be tempted by that first, but one never knows…

Danu, 21 June 2015

By the way, W.H. Auden is also the one that said : “A man is a form of life that dreams in order to act and acts in order to dream.” 

And, even more important and interesting and probably the best answer to my questioning:

“What answer to the meaning of existence should one require beyond the right to exercise one’s gifts?” (W.h. Auden)

I had the chance to do just that in the last 18 years or so. I can consider myself a pretty lucky bastard, can I?

The illustration is my last, yet unfinished, painting: it will be called, if I succed to finish it, “The Path” or something like that and I still have to paint a climbing silhouette of a man…

DSCN6691

Danu, dessinateur judiciare: le procès de l’assassin de Julie Boisvenu!


Caricaturiste en Estrie

J’ai découvert, ces jours-çi, quelques vieux dessins que j’ai fait quand j’avais essayé ma main comme dessinateur judiciare. Et je l’ai fait au process de l’assassin de Julie Boivenu. Le 23 septembre 2003, si je fais confiance à la date noté sur les croquis. Ils sont, la plupart, des esquisses que j’ai fait sur place, des portraits des pricipaux intéréssés: Hugo Bernier, l’assassin (comme il a été condamné je peux l’appeller comme ça, non?), avec son rictus dédaigneux, le procureur de la couronne (je le sais maintenant, M. André Campagna), du judge Gagnon (?) et de l’avocate de la défense… Les voilà:

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There Is a Time For Everything – Update


Well, I have to back up a little and recognize I was wrong: Mecenas still exists.

Sometimes, they have name of flowers (Lilly, Florin) sometimes of emperors (Traian, Valentin, Adrian) or simply poetic names like my own (Dan)  or Mariana or Sandra or Rafi… And I hope I did not forgot anybody… If I did, blame the bloody illness (even if my artist “head in the clouds” could be the real problem…)

Anyway, I just came, a few hours ago, from my second chemotherapy (it didn’t went as bad as I thought – So far, so good…) and after the holidays, in January, I will have my chance to see dr. Vanounou at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. If he sees me fit to be operate then I will probably have the HIPEC procedure and a fair chance to be healed or at least to get some more time… My state is far too advanced for me to despise the “marvels” of Modern Medicine… If not I will have to try exclusively Alternative, Natural Medicine… But you cannot cut a gangrened leg with a banana, unfortunately…

Otherwise, good news, because of the Mecenas (some more giving, even buying me some originals, some just sending me money by Paypal or ordering some reproductions , but both equally generous, proportionally to their meanings…) I have now my Santevia Alkaline Water Filtration System, my Kempo Hippocrates slow juicer – really slow that one, but good… and even a chlorine filter for my shower (my wife used it too; I would like my children and grandsons use it but that’s not, unfortunately, practical…)

But, hey! says Danu the Cynic, even they still exists (and God bless them!) they are not that numerous and there is still place for some more… I have now my gizmos and devices (my Alternate way of fighting cancer, with the vegetarian diet and prayer) but now, that I bought those, I am still broke and got not much left, if any, to buy vegetables and fruits and so on. True, I bought a lottery ticket today and, eventually, the Welfare will come through at the end of the month…

That’s Danu, the never satisfied, the ungrateful bastard that thinks world (or other people) owe him soething just for being such a “splendid” artist…They don’t…

But if you are feeling invadad by the Christmas spirit and willing to do some charity, my Paypal email is diordache01@gmail.com and/or you can order some “masterpieces” reproductions from my Fine Art America site or Redbubble… That’s also, Danu the Cynic, Danu the opportunist, Danu the Begger… More things could happen now (Danu the Cynic again…):

1. Nothing moves, nothing changes…

2. Some new Mecenas will generously manifest themselves… (YES!)

3. Last, but not least, some effing spamer will take my email and use it to flood me with rich African kings offers (they need only a couple thousand $ to inherit – and are ready to make me part of it, to making me ultra-rich); or some “beautiful” ladies which fancy me as their future lover and wish to make me orgasmiclly happy (by phone, I suppose) if I send them a couple of hundred $ and so on… and lets hope Paypal security is really really tight (I think so; never had a problem yet) so that hackers cannot also syphon my meager account by only knowing your email…

Whatever…

To all the possibilities (and I really mean ALL, not only $ and emails and Mecenas…) I will say: Thy Will Be Done. (I will do my part, though…)

Be it Fate/Nature/God.

I discovered some more unknown or hardly remembered things I’ve done : here they are so that I do now spoil my “Grand finale” with some more words…

Marine Gems 2006 ?

Marine Gems 2006 ?

Some of MArs Imagined Population VGI

You can see what the HIPEC procedure is, here:

http://www.hipectreatment.com/about-the-hipec-procedure/

P.S.  Almost started to draw and make watercolors again… one of the Mecenas gave me a order for a horse painting… My half of the kitchen table is ready: paper, photos, watercolors… All stay there like soldiers on a battlefield. Waiting for the General to gain some forces and really DO it… He will, he will…

I Wonder…


Almost 6 months now since I’ve ceased to draw and paint. I begin to wonder if painting, art, really was so important, so vital to me. Not a pleasant thought, after all… I’ve really believed, for a long time, I was an artist. Even created a few drawings and paintings which aren’t that bad…Some are quite good…

But now, after almost 6 months of letting go of drawing and painting in the backyard of my mind, I wonder… Am I an artist? Is there anything in me that makes painting and drawing more important than anything? Or am I just another Technical Support Consultant (imagine that!) for a corporation, trying to make a living in my final years ?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maybe it’s the disappointment, the frustration, the hurt that nobody “discovered” me, that no bloody Maecenas  come forward with, at least, a modest offer, to recognize my “genius”… Never mind…

I begin to like the routine of an ordinary life… No intellectual highs, just the “telly” with some good or bad series, a good movie now and then and an occasional book I read in 2-3 more time than I use to… Maybe I am simply getting old…

Or, maybe, just maybe, I am “pregnant” / impregnated with something…Maybe I wait my term, the 9th months, to deliver… I wonder…

Van Gogh Was a Lucky Bastard! He Sold Every Single Painting He Painted!


Of course, some would doubt that he was that lucky (I have doubts myself…) and, of course, he was the legitimate son of Theodorus Van Gogh, the pastor from Nuenen, and not a bastard. But that’s the expression, it seems, when one wants to express, strongly express, that another was (is) lucky…

As for the second assertion in the title, some would no doubt doubt my own soundness of mind (relatively OK, Thank You!)

It is true that both afirmations in my title are totally opposed to the Legend, to the Myth Van Gogh: Vincent, the cursed artist, the mad genius, starving and miserable, cutting of his ear out of  dispair, not having sold but one painting in all his life… Well, we already saw how much truth that legend has (if it were the Truth one wouldn’t call it “legend”…)

I would not assume the merit of for these small discoveries. They become evident, to me, after reading some of the enormous bibliography about Van Gogh, most of which is, of course, a worthless repetition and variants on the same theme: Vincent Van Gogh, the Mad Genius, blah-blah… But, of course, there are some very good, passionate and serious authors who wrote about Vincent, not for the glory or for the money (even if those are not diabolical or bad per se…) but because, in fact, his letters and his paintings are something definitely worth studying not only from the point of view of art history but also as an extraordinary sample of the creativity of man. Almost no other case of great artist in history documented as well as Vincent’s letters and paintings do the intimate process of human creativity.  Maybe, Delacroix, with his Journal?

Some of those serious, passionate authors (besides M.E. Tralbaut, Jan Hulsker and lately Naifeh & Smith) is Wouter Van Der Veen & Peter Knapp(both with extraordinary qualifications to speak about Van Gogh’s life and work). These two authors wrote (and respectively illustrated) a very interesting study of the Auvers period, the last in Vincent’s life and work (Vincent Van Gogh à Auvers, Éditions du Chêne – Hachette, 2009) and, to my knowledge, they were the first to strongly underline this idea that, in fact, Vincent Van Gogh SOLD EVERY PAINTING HE PAINTED.

This surprisingly new perception of the facts ( for these are FACTS not speculations or suppositions or PSYCHOLOGICAL BLAH-BLAH – sadly so very often found in Van Gogh’s bibliography)  THIS NEW PERCEPTION is, once you’ve seen it, SO EVIDENT, SO POIGNANT, that one begins to understand why it hasn’t been seen before…

The facts: since the very beginning of his artistic career and til the bitter end, becoming more and more precise and definite in time, Vincent Van Gogh had even better than a Mecena: he had a contract with an art dealer, his brother Theo. Theo paid Vincent a consistent sum of money (not an enormous one but one which was consistent: about 200 francs per month, often more; M. Roulin, Vincent’s friend from Arles, a family man with 3 children, had a job that paid 135 francs per month and he was able to assure a decent living of his family with those…) and Vincent send all the paintings and drawings he produced to Theo, whom he considered THE RIGHTFUL OWNER of his production. If there were, maybe,  ambiguities at the beginning (Theo being the loving brother and all) there were none in the last years of Vincent’s life. It was a very well defined, precise and legal, products for money contract. Theo gave the money (for Vincent daily subsistence and painting materials) and Vincent gave the paintings and drawings. It is very clear contract and there are lots of references at this in their letters.

In the authors own words (from the Introduction; p.13):

“Considering the deal he made with his Mecena, Theo, we can say that Van Gogh sold all his paintings, with the exception of those given to models or exchanged with other artists. Theo, keeping intact the collection, made the fortune of his family. So, there is nothing “revolting” in the fact that Vincent “sold nothing” in his lifetime, on the contrary.” (p. 13)

Considering all that happened after Vincent’s and Theo’s death, the way his heritage was passed to Vincent Willem, his grandson/son (administrated by Johanna Bonger – Van Gogh until his coming of age) without any opposition from Vincent & Theo’s family (it is true that, before let’s say, 1905, his paintings were practically worthless…and he, Vincent, was not very admired or respected by the remaining family…) the reality of this CONTRACT Vincent – Theo is quite evident. A supplementary merit of Van Veen & Knapp book is a very interesting and well documented history of the posterity of Vincent’s heritage in which, of course, Jo Bonger – Van Gogh has the main role. It is a very well deserved homage to Jo, a homage that Naifeh & Smith and many other authors paid too.

She is one of the main authors (if not THE AUTHOR)  of the Van Gogh “miracle” that made from a quasi unknown, obscure painter, a universally recognized genius (not to mention one of the most expensive one…) in the history of art.

In this respect, yes, Vincent was a lucky bastard…

As for his suffering, very real and intense, no doubt about that, here it is what van der Veen & Kanpp have to say:

” Vincent accepted his fate which he didn’t considered too bad. He knows he suffered a lot but he also knows that it was his conscious choice to suffer. Ten years before, when he was persuaded that he must become either a pastor or an evangelizer, the suffering was even the main cause for his engagement. Even before discovering that Jean-François Millet considered suffering as an indispensable ingredient of his talent, Van Gogh considered that only the suffering could lead to sublime.” p. 36

I will conclude with a citation from David Sweetman’s book “The Love of Many Things” (1990 – I’ve read the French translation of this one, Une vie de Vincent Van Gogh, Presses de la Rennaissance, 1990) another well documented and well written biography of Vincent Van Gogh:

“So, despite his miserable life, Vincent had finally an extraordinary chance. Not only Theo was an indefectible back up but also the Theo’s widow took it on her own, as her life goal, to build his reputation, followed in that by his son (and Vincent’s nephew, whom he had hold on his knees maybe two or three times).With an exemplary obstinacy, Vincent Willem kept together most of his uncle’s works and made them accessible to the largest public possible.  And it’s exactly this public that makes Vincent’s story not a sad and hopeless one but, on the contrary, eminently happy. Who could deny that because of these large number of people of all nationalities,  who gather before his paintings and drawings, Vincent finally had touched to one of the goals he had most ardently desired and cherished: to make his art accessible to the largest number of people possible ?” (p. 455)

Note. The citation  were in French and I’ve translated them. So, if there are any errors they are entirely mine. Mea culpa. Sorry.

The Legend van Gogh: True or False?


1. Vincent van Gogh never sold a painting in his life.

FALSE. He sold more than one (if the legend is, mostly, about him never selling a painting, the more informed know that he sold at least one, The Red Vineyard, to Anna, the sister of Eugène Boch (whom he painted the famous portrait so called The Poet) . The sell took place in 1890, at the XX Exhibition in Bruxelles (400 fr. belges = about 1000 $ in today’s money). But there are some authors who doubt that this was precisely the painting sold. What is certain is that van Gogh sold ONE of the paintings exposed there and The Red Vineyard was one of those… In fact, in his early correspondence with his brother Théo, he mentions an order for a series of Anvers landscapes one of his uncles made to him. In all probability, he fulfilled the order and cashed the 40 guldens (if I am not mistaken). In a word, FALSE, van Gogh sold more than one painting. What is true is that he couldn’t earn his living with his art and that all the richness and glory were post-mortem. It happens.

2. Vincent cut his ear in a madness attack.

FALSE. He cut a part of his earlobe only. The local press from Arles reports that he put the earlobe in an envelope and offered it to a favorite of his named Rachel, from the local brothel he frequented. There is some craziness in the gesture, of course, but less than is usually supposed. It seems that Rachel liked to play with Vincent’s earlobes and to ask when she can have them. Arles being a place where tauromachia was still present in those times – in the old Roman Arena – and the dead bulls ears where offered by the torreadores to their local Dulcineas…

3. Before cutting his ear(LOBE) , Vincent tried to kill his buddy Gauguin with a razor  blade. Guguin, only with his cold, manly stare, subdued Vincent who ran away to cut his ear(lobe), ashamed…

FALSE or, at least, very uncertain. The only testimony to that is Gauguin’s own, in a writing composed 15 years after the events! Gauguin, who was a proved egomaniac and known for his rich imagination and his tendencies to bend the facts so that they fit HIS legend, badly needed to justify somehow the fact that he abandoned his supposedly best friend and host, in one of his worst moment of Vincent’s life.

I beg your pardon, I do like some of Gauguin’s paintings and his Paradise Lost and Found trick, but, morally, he was nothing like Vincent. Neither generous, nor truthful, an egomaniac and, even after his own time standards, an immoral person. Not only because he abandoned his own family, prior to abandoning Vincent, but also because of what we call today pedophilia. Aggravated no end by the fact that he had syphilis. Even around 1900, infecting 13 years old girls with syphilis was something at least spiteful…

(Note: It’s true that a lot of painters and poets had syphilis those days: Vincent and his brother Théo had it too, as did Toulouse Lautrec, Manet, Baudelaire and many others. (But no 13 year old was involved as in the last years of Gauguin’s life…)

4. The women always rejected Vincent.

FALSE. Based only on a fact – the rejection of his love for a recently widowed cousin of his so well popularized in The Lust for Life (the Irving Stone’s novel and the movie screened after that novel by Vincent Minelli, with Kirk Douglas as Vincent and Anthony Queen as Gauguin) the legend makes of Vincent a shy, recluse, almost monk-like mad genius. But that is not true at all because there was even a women from Utten, Margot, who tried to commit suicide because of her love for Vincent and in Paris he had a mistress, La Segatori, the owner (?) of Café du Tambourin. Here she is, posing for Vincent (there is also a nude tentative but that is quite a sketchy and embarrassing for his genius, nude! it happens even to the greatest…):

Vincent's mistress, La Segatori

Not to mention his almost certain affair with Marguerit, Dr. Gachet’s daughter, one of the source of the last days tension between Vincent and the “good” doctor… Here it is, the portrait of Marguerite:

Another van Gogh's mistress

The list of the dubious or inexact facts in Vincent Mad Genius Legend are many… I just mentioned  a few, the more blattant…

In fact, I see the most balanced presentation of his life (especially the last year) in the excellent 1991 movie “Van Gogh” by Maurice Pialat, with Jacques Dutronc playing Vincent. Considering all my reading, all the movies and paintings  and letters of Vincent I’ve read, my feeling goes for this movie, the most authentic, the most truthful to what I see as the true life of Vincent van Gogh. One day, soon I hope, I would sat down and write this essay I think about for so long: Vincent van Gogh and the Cinema...

The pleasure of sketching


I’ve sketched this little boy during the Bromont Art Symposium… Was it 2003? 2004? I don’t remember any more. But I know I did a lot of sketching then, waiting for a “collector” of sorts to come and buy everything…anything… Usually,  they didn’t bother but eventually, I still covered my expenses and left there with a small profit… Danu, the capitalist…

The little guy from Bromont

Anyway, recently I’ve seen some sketches by Watteau, this “artiste maudit” avant-la-lettre, dead at 37, like Rafael, like Modigliani and Van Gogh and many others who “kicked the bucket” at this fatidic age… I was amazed by the spontaneity, the vigor and, at the same time, the exquisite delicacy of his drawings. I could only imagine him, drawing. All the pleasure that sketching would have brought in his poor life, all the joy. Painter of the so called “fêtes galantes” of the end of the 17th and beginning of the 17th century in France, associated with “joie de vivre” and eroticism, he was quite a frugal man. Delicate, discretely erotic but not at all as Fragonard or Boucher. I would say I appreciate him even more for that… and he was a great draftsman, just as good as Bruegel and Rembrandt and Rubens. It is not rare to be able to tell more about an artist looking at his/her drawins. No “comission” for that… Just the artist, unadulterated,  “pure”…

Here it is one of his drawings, and a lot more and better are at Louvres…

Sketches by Watteau

The pleasure to draw, to sketch is a fascinating subject, for me, for I have an orgasmic pleasure doing it. I think others have this too… So I come back with more…

Copyright © Dan Iordache, 2012