Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Vincent van Gogh – Three

MTr Anecdotes 4

In 1880 Vincent Van Gogh, 27 years old, decided to become an artist. It was a strange decision, because by that age most people either already are artists, or never will be. 

But Van Gogh needed something to do. He had failed at everything else he had tried, most recently the occupation of preacher. His superiors had discharged him, not because they found him insufficiently pious but too zealous in spreading the Good News. He was considered a “dangerous” Christian fanatic. Among other things, he had given away all his possessions. No one could figure out where he had got this crazy idea. 

Anecdotes about Vincent van Gogh – Four

MTr Anecdotes 5

Vincent Van Gogh, when he was a kid, was “fired” by his piano teacher because all young Vincent wanted to talk about was the colors of the notes.

Anecdotes about Vincent van Gogh – Five

MTr Anecdotes 6

A widowed first cousin, Kee; a prostitute named Sien; shy, spinsterish Margot Bergemann; the seventeen-year-old peasant girl Stien de Groot – to all of them Vincent van Gogh would declare his love. In none of them would he find the wife to seal the emotional bond that he so perfectly imagined and ardently desired. He described it, too, in his correspondence, not only in the remarkable, justly famous letters exchanged with his brother Theo, but also in heartfelt missives to his aggrieved mother, his loyal sister Wil, and his devoted sister-in-law Johanna.

Anecdotes about Pablo Picasso – One


A poor artist owned a supposed Picasso. He sent it via a friend for the master to authenticate it. Picasso: “It's false.”

From a different source the friend brought another and another Picasso-painting. Each time Picasso disowned them. Yet the third time the man said, “But I saw you paint this one with my own eyes.”

“I can paint false Picassos as well as anyone,” retorted Picasso. Then he bought the first painting for a sum four times as high as the owner had originally hoped it would fetch.

Anecdotes about Pablo Picasso – Two


Picasso was relaxing on a beach in the south of France when he was accosted by a small boy clutching a blank sheet of paper. The child had evidently been dispatched by his parents to solicit an autographed drawing. After a moment's hesitation, Picasso tore up the paper and drew a few designs on the boy's back instead. He signed his name with a flourish and sent the child back to his parents. Relating the incident at a later date, Picasso remarked thoughtfully, “I wonder if they'll ever wash him again?”

Anecdotes about Pablo Picasso – Three


American Gertrude Stein was a big fan of Picasso, buying many paintings from him in the early days of his career. She is known for the portrait that Picasso painted of her in 1905. The painting required 90 sittings and when it was completed it was given to Stein as a gift. She told Picasso that the portrait didn’t look like her. He responded: “it will.”

Anecdotes about Pablo Picasso – Four


People often asked Picasso to pay his bills with a drawing. He reportedly once refused to sign one of these drawings saying, “I’m buying a meal, not the whole restaurant.”

Anecdotes about Pablo Picasso – Five


During World War II Picasso suffered some harassment from the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Paris. An inquisitive German officer, coming into his apartment, noticed a photograph of Guernica lying on a table. “Did you do that?” he asked Picasso. “No, you did,” said Picasso.

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