VAN GOGH’S FINALE
by Martin Bailey (Frances Lincoln £25)
VAN GOGH’S FINALE by Martin Bailey (Frances Lincoln £25)
Vincent Van Gogh’s final 70 days were the most prolific of his career — he produced 70 artworks — but debate still rages over which was the last before his death from a gunshot wound. A popular choice is the magnificent Wheatfield With Crows, in which black birds whirl portentously over crops.
But expert Martin Bailey, whose stunning book focuses on those last weeks, comes down on the side of Tree Roots (pictured), painted three minutes’ walk from van Gogh’s lodgings almost certainly hours before his fatal wounding.
Whatever the cause of death (Bailey plumps for suicide over murder), only days earlier Van Gogh had ordered new paints from Paris. He may have been disturbed but, the author remarks poignantly, ‘painting was uppermost in his mind’.