Personal recollections of Vincent van Gogh
During the summer of 1912, Der Sonderbund of Cologne held an exhibition of modern paintings, representing especially those painters of various nations who are trying to express not only themselves but the spirit of today.
Europe is greatly in advance of us in this respect, ready to give a hearing to a group of earnest thinkers in whatever branch of thought, be it science or the arts. This is especially true of France, and that hospitable city, Paris, which is always ready to share all its knowledge and its thoughts with those who wish to enter its portals.
Who has not heard of or met with those kind French dealers, men of moderate means, of plain birth, whose passion for art has made:h em true patrons, in the real sense of the word — men who have given as- assistance to young, struggling, and unknown painters or sculptors; who gave them their first ch^ce by placing their work in their show-windows, oK by giving credit for the material, offered them the first real opportunity for work; who, when asked by commercial friends whether the loss was not great, answered, as did P^re Fortinet, "No, for they always pay back unless death instead of fame first overtakes them"! Germany, too, is trying to bring to life this spirit, informing art associations throughout her large cities
One of these new associations representing the modern movement is the Sonderbund of Cologne, which held an exhibition last year. From all over Europe people came to see and learn. It was held in a large temporary structure, and of the twenty rooms, four were given over entirely to the works of Van Gogh. One hundred and twelve of his paintings had been gathered together from collections scattered throughout Europe.
Here, at last, was an opportunity to study the works of a man who was deeply impressing and influencing artists and critics in many countries.
They were not slavish followers, imitators, that one met, but men who were doing vigorous original work. Van Gogh seemed to have stimulated and opened out to them a whole new vision of colour construction. We reached Cologne after a long, dusty railroad journey and immediately drove out to the exhibition. The first room that one entered was the large hall with a single line of Van Gogh's paintings, all done in his last and most brilliant period, hung spaciously so that each picture came to its full value.
, Translated by Huberta Elisabeth.