I Pay a Visit to Van Gogh’s Bedroom

Although I have been writing professionally for more than 50 years, I am relatively new to blogging. I started writing this blog on invitation from a friend nearly six years ago and have only been doing it that long.

For your background, I began writing in the men’s magazine and paperback book business and worked at a couple of publishers for a half dozen years. I recounted my leaving that business in the post How to Handle Career Adversity if you want further details. I worked at Reuters for 20 years after that.


This is one of the three paintings. It was completed in 1889.

All of this is to say that while I have a lot of experience writing, I am a relative newbie at blogging. When I first started, my partner used to say that my posts read more like short articles than blog posts. They weren’t personal enough.

Maybe I just didn’t (don’t) get it. When I post something, I am sharing information that I think will benefit the reader and help that person to live a longer, healthier, happier life. I really don’t feel my personal details are all that interesting or useful to anyone else.

Having said that, I am now writing this totally personal post. You can decide whether or not it has any value or interest for you.

A hundred years ago, it seems, in my first year of college, I encountered the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. To put it mildly I was overwhelmed. There are no words in my head to explain to you the impact his pictures had on me.  it was totally visceral. I particularly loved the famous Van Gogh’s Bedroom. So, can you imagine my delight in learning that the Art Institute of Chicago was having a special showing of the three works of art known as Van Gogh’s Bedroom. That’s right. He painted the picture three times. I did not know that.

As an Art Institute member, I was invited to a preview and talk on the works yesterday and planned to attend. The weather in Chicago has been fearsomely cold this past week and as a result, I was not able to do my normal bike riding. I climbed the stairs in my high rise which is good weight bearing exercise, just not nearly as much fun as biking. At any rate, because the structure of my day was so turned around, I forgot about the talk until moments before it started. I rushed out, but was too late to catch it. I was, however, able to see the exhibit and read about it. Magical is the only word I have to describe those paintings.

Van Gogh created the works while living in Arles where he also painted another of my favorite works, The Boats at Arles. They are candy to my eyes.


The Boats at Arles

I have included the pictures here for your viewing pleasure. If they have any meaning or impact on you I recommend you read further on them and the painter. They tell a wonderful story about this beautiful troubled genius who created them.



Filed under Vincent Van Gogh

12 responses to “I Pay a Visit to Van Gogh’s Bedroom

  1. This is a great post, Tony. I think everyone brings their own “flavor” to their blog, and I like your posts about diet and exercise. You are a non-fiction style blogger like me, giving out useful information, and I think you interject your personality into your posts. Don’t change what you are doing 🙂


  2. @fitone

    I love Van Gogh too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tony, did you know you can actually STAY in a replica of Van Gogh’s bedroom … and it’s in Chicago?!!! I love art of all kinds and know just what you mean when you say a reaction is visceral – sometimes a painting or exhibition just grabs you by surprise. Here’s the link – http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/02/new-on-airbnb-vincent-van-gogh-bedroom-in-arles/462177/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PS Have you read “Goldfinch” yet? It’s about the hold a painting held for a young boy. Pulitzer prize winner and a fascinating read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “it was totally visceral”
    There are two kinds of men, those that fall in love at first sight and those who have to get to know someone first. Clearly you are an example of the former 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. eths

    I love the Art Institute. I grew up in a suburb, Barrington, and used to take the Northwestern Railroad in town for a dentist who happened to be on Michigan Ave. in the Pacific, Gas and Electric Building, close and across the street from the Institute. . Having weird teeth I went often and my grandmother met me afterwards and took me to the Institute and to the Chicago Symphony. I was so lucky. As a child I was enchanted with the miniature room exhibit they had, I think it was called the Thorn Exhibit. Saw it again about three years ago. I miss Chicago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful grandmother making trips to the dentist a happy cultural experience. Chicago is a great city. When I worked for Reuters here we had visitors from all the bureaus around the world and they were always knocked out by Chicago.


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