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Home FranceAuvers-sur-Oise Auberge Ravoux Plaque Ceremony 1946

Auberge Ravoux Plaque Ceremony 1946

by VanGoghology

Auberge Ravoux Plaque Ceremony 1946

In 1946, a commemorative plaque was placed on the ‘House of van Gogh’ by French politician Robert Bichet, who served as the Secretary of State for Information, and by Jacques Jaujard, the Director General of Arts and Letters.

The ceremony was simple, picturesque, and moving as could be, and yet, this year, it was homage to Van Gogh, whom we had at first imagined to be very intimate, took on, thanks to the personalities who were willing to honor him with their presence, an official character which, moreover, was well worthy of its object and gave full meaning to this fervent, but, it must be admitted, belated step of memory.

The house where Vincent Van Gogh died is, it is known, on the edge of the road, opposite the town hall, in the very place of this, village of the Ile-de-France which, despite the beautiful schools of which he may be enormous, had the grace to remain as known, loved and painted by Daubigny, Daumier, Corot, Cézanne, Pissarro, Van Gogh.

When, at 11 o’clock, the bus with the guests arrived, the hustle and bustle of a market-day gave way to respectful curiosity. something was going to happen that would go down in the cannals of Auvers. The familiar little café, wrapped like a large toy in tricolor draperies, was inaccessible, the road barred by three rows of armchairs and chairs, and all around, the groups of curious people, a little moved, by this unusual coming-and-going, an atmosphere of expectation broken by the cries and laughter of the children or the barking of the dogs. The presence of the gendarmes, the firefighters, with their bugles—which, by the way, were not of any use, why? — indicated that the village was in the spotlight.

And the ceremony, of which M. Naegelen, the Minister of National Education, had kindly accepted the honorary presidency, a ceremony organized and remarkably regulated by M. Béthencourt, who was the first to have the idea. 

Mr. Georges Duhamel and Georges Lecomte, of the French Academy; Tabarant; Mrs. Emile Bernard and Van Gogh’s nephew had apologized. Among the attendees, we note the presence of Father Couturier, of Mr. René Chavance, André Warnod, Léon Degand, the representatives of the two largest Dutch newspapers and American correspondents; Mrs. Brion, Mr. Michel-Ange Bernard and his wife, the Marquise of Saint-Chamond, Gisèle Ferràndier, M. and Mme Cachin-Signac, Rodo-Pissarro, the painter Kischka, Lily Lourioty, Maurice Malingue. 

The Mayor welcomed his guests to the town hall: Mr. Bichet, Minister of Information; M. Jaujard, Director-General of Arts and Letters;- M. C.-M. Voorbeytel, Embassy Attaché, representing His Excellency the Ambassador of the Netherlands; Roger Léonard,Prefect of Seine-et-Oise; Mrs G. Peyrolles, Member of Parliament for Seine-et-et-Oise.

Mr. Gachet, Van Gogh’s last friend; Mr. Wildenstein, director of our weekly; of representatives of the Paris press and foreign; and the admirers of the painter who wanted to participate, with Arts, in the installation of this plaque. And this was the first speech of welcome to which the Prefect replied. 

VvG plaqueThen, after admiring some curious pastels by Murer on the walls of the hall – we’re in painters’ country here – we left the town hall for the village square, where, under a small tricolored “canopy”, six speakers followed one another, without the audience’s attention tiring for a moment.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks, followed by a moving presentation of Van Gogh by Mr. Jaujard, who has kindly allowed us to reproduce these now essential pages in the painter’s history.

After this luminous overview, in which everything seemed to have been said, Mr. Robert Bichet, Minister of Information, in the midst of words of more general interest, managed to place a few considerations whose high-mindedness, on such a fortuitous occasion, struck us: we regret that a promise made to other journalists does not allow us to reproduce this text in its entirety.

And these grave words, so rich in meaning and emotion, were made all the more touching by the respectful attitude and diversity of those who listened to them.

At the two windows on the café’s only floor, on either side of the plaque, which is still veiled in blue, the owner of the house, in a white apron, an amiable hostess with a good smile, dominated the scene, while on the other side, young girls leaned attentively, sometimes laughing, with a joy made up of a secret pride at seeing their everyday home become the center of all eyes, of all thoughts…

And the crowd of onlookers grew, anglers forgot the nearby river, strollers lingered, and at the and in the front row a brave housewife, her arms full of half a dozen warm loaves of bread – which the sun didn’t let cool – let the lunch hour pass the lunch hour; children, familiar toddlers ventured out, playing, into the official enclosure.

As the last of the seven speeches came to an end – a string attached to the shutters was cut and the plaque, beneath which under which a spray of large suns had been placed, simply appeared without fanfare”, and the firefighters, too discreetly left, while the little café, where a vin d’honneur awaited us on a large table adorned with suns, was quickly filled to capacity.

But it was the memory of Van Gogh that we had come here to seek, and guided by the maid, we slowly and silently made our way up the narrow staircase, soon jammed with traffic, to the room where, just fifty-six years ago, on a bright summer’s day, one of the greatest painters of our time died at the age of 37. by Renée MOUTARD-ULDRY

From there, the contingency made their way up the narrow staircase to view Vincent’s chamber, which is described as remaining in the same poverty as it had when Vincent lived there.

Then the short pilgrimage up to the cemetery.

Arriving back in the square, passersby will now look up and see the great name of Vincent Van Gogh.


“Dear Attaché, Dear General Councilors’, Dear Director, Dear Conservative,

I am happy, on this day when we honor in person Vincent Van Gogh one of the greatest contemporary painters, to also celebrate and reaffirm the friendship and brotherhood that unite our two peoples of the Netherlands and France.

Recently, at the National Library in Paris, an exhibition devoted to the clandestine press and publishing in Holland during the occupation, brought us with the testimony of a courage that has never wavered in the course of terrible years, a new proof of the profoundly artistic spirit of a people who have given the world some of the greatest painters of whom mankind can be proud and of which Van Gogh is one of the most illustrious representatives.

But for the latter, the case is exceptional. He knew how to draw from the living sources of our two nations to nourish and bring to full development his genius as a magician of color.

A great Dutch painter, who remained a great Dutchman until his last day, Van Gogh is nevertheless rightly also considered a great French painter.

The fact is that the three stages of his career, which were those of his life, were to lead him to this sort of insertion into a school which was not his own and which was that of the French Impressionists, the one which subjected the art of painting to the regime of light, that which made the continual mobility of forms dependent on the mirage of light.

During his debut in the Netherlands itself, and then during the years he was to spend in the Belgian Borinage, Van Gogh showed mastery in drawing so characteristic of its origin, but its color has remained dull, thick, inseparable from its uniformly realistic and dark subjects. His painting in these two periods, Dutch
and Belgian, is sad because it is still only materialistic.

For the butterfly to emerge from its chrysalis, it needs the sky of France, and more particularly that of Provence. In the presence of this sky and in contact with the French Impressionists, with whom he was connected from his arrival in our country, Van Gogh will serve himself, and it will only be in this period that he will conceive and realize this admirable, light, flexible, and bright painting that will assure his immortal glory.

Let the two syllables of his name be pronounced, and at once, indeed, the vast expanses of Provence are evoked in our minds, ablaze under skies all vibrating with warmth at the foot of the purple Alpilles, the black cypresses or the olive trees that seem to writher in the immense and flamboyant peace of the
countryside of Arles.

But if the French climate allowed the painter to realize himself fully, by his influence and the value of his lessons, Van Gogh has brought more to France than France has given him. The magnificent renaissance of French painting was one of its most active, most authentic ferments; As such, he is entitled to our recognition.

I would not wish, because that would be unfair, to confine myself to this one assessment. If painting is anything other than a simple play of lines and colors, volumes and light, if it is to speak to our mind as much as to our senses, we must, behind the painter, rediscover man. He deserves it, because for us, Van Gogh is also the man of total commitment.

He entered “painting” as one enters religion. It was indeed a farewell to the century that he pronounced in order to adopt a severe discipline and dedicate his life to the enthusiastic and obstinate quest for a good of which he had no doubt.

In the process of doing so, he lost his mind. Victorious but mortally wounded, his life ended here, fifty-six
years ago. Whatever may have been the details of a tormented existence, we bow with respect to the memory of him who sacrificed everything, even his life, in the hard pursuit of his ideal. “

ROBERT BICHET – Secretary of State for Information – FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 1946


THE PASSION OF VAN GOGH by Jacques Jaujard. (Translated)

It was here that, fifty-six years ago, on July 27, 1890, a man returned to this house, with a tormented face, framed by a beard, his gaze absorbed under the folds of his eyelashes.

As he approached, it was seen that blood was dripping down his heavy shoes. He went into the inn where his lodgings were, went up to his room, stretched himself down, and asked for his pipe.

Just now he was painting, his easel planted in the grass. He had put down his palette and brushes, and then, without haste, taking a revolver from his pocket, he had shot himself in the stomach. He would die two days later.

His name was Vincent Van Gogh, he was 37 years old. He was one of the greatest painters of the century. 

Crazy move? Surely. But there are fools who deserve to be examined, to be scrutinized in their true sphere. The one who drove the poor Vincent Van Gogh to death – It was not vulgar in nature. It was an intense faculty of love in the highest and most universal sense of the word, a love so constantly demanding, so cruelly unsatisfied, so pervasive, that it soon burst the limits of reason.

It has been said what his childhood and adolescence had been: tortured by the desire to assist his neighbor in sorrows and sorrows, his ardent humility, in spite of himself, rebellious to dogmatic teachings, but passionately in love with compassion, that is to say, with “suffering with.”.

Stories have been told of his apprenticeship as a pastor in Borinage, the “black country,” where he was forced to indulge in the kind of maceration found in the stories of the saints, in order to share the sufferings of those he wanted to help suffer.

But, incapable of the self-restraint required of an evangelist pastor, his passion, without changing its nature, had to change its path.

For a long time now, every aspect of the outside world, even the most common, had been a miracle to him. He wanted to assimilate them with the same desire for absorption that had driven him, in the Borinage, to give so many kisses to so many lepers.

And, just as in the past, in the Far East, we could call Hiroshigé .”the old man mad about drawing,” we must, from now on, call Van Gogh: “the young man mad about color.”. No school of painters has played with color more skillfully than that of Holland.

Van Gogh’s love of color therefore, has logical origins. But we may wonder whether all the gray and black his eyes had once imbibed in the Borinage had not induced him, by reaction, to this exalted cult of the warmest hues. for all those chromes so sonorous, in the most sonorous of ranges, that of yellow.

Like the Far Easterners (with whom he sometimes presents surprising analogies), Van Gogh sees yellow as the imperial color, the sacred color, that of the sun. And, from word to word, he sees in the veiled world a kind of god-flower (he says it himself, almost in his own words) and it’s precisely the suns, the great sunflowers. 

Later, on the walls of his room in Arles, he painted rows of them. He would surround himself with these enormous flowers like a radiant guard.

He lived a life of poverty supreme freedom that comes from expecting neither fame nor fortune.

Of course, I don’t believe in the beneficial effect of poverty on artists. Gauguin himself who voluntarily intoxicated himself with poverty, admitted that too much of it kills. And if Delacroix, Corot, Degas and Puvis hadn’t been in some way sheltered from destitution, who knows if we’d have been able to see them? 

Who knows if we’d have Delacroix, Corot, Degas and Puvis? But for men like Van Gogh, being “cursed artists” – as Huysmans put it – brought with it an extraordinary detachment from anything that wasn’t his own joy.

Van Gogh brought, as the great artist and critic Maurice Denis so aptly put it, “that truly lyrical vision of things” that belongs to him alone.

Every day, far from taking him away from us, time brings him closer. We are proud that this Dutchman, like the Englishman Bonnington, has found here his second home. (he never forgot his beloved and beautiful country of Holland) and that he experienced his most intense emotions here.

But we can’t evoke his figure without mentioning that of his brother Theo, who loved him, cradled him, patiently picked up his complaints and whims, believed in his genius without a moment’s weakness or doubt, and who literally followed him so closely into the grave, as they both sleep in the Auvers cemetery. 

An admirable example of friendship so soon transformed into a kind of motherly love, which enabled her to survive until his thirty-seventh birthday, the painfully great Vincent Van Gogh.

Directeur Général des Arts et des Lettres

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