Auvers-sur-Oise is hallowed ground for fans of Vincent van Gogh (and who isn’t a fan?). Here he painted many of his greatest paintings, lived the last 93 days of his life, and is buried. Today a suburb to the north of Paris, in van Gogh’s day Auvers was a pretty country village, home to Dr. Paul Gachet. Dr. Gachet was part of the same circle of avant-garde impressionist artists as van Gogh; he boarded and “treated” van Gogh for mental illness, although van Gogh felt that Gachet actually was in worse shape than he was.
Before his very untimely death by gunshot to the chest under ambiguous circumstances—often, but not definitively narrated as suicide—van Gogh painted many scenes around Auvers, including Dr. Gachet’s house, the famous Wheat Field with Crows, and of course the Church at Auvers.
The modern pilgrim to the hallowed ground trod by the great van Gogh finds many of the Auvers landscapes unchanged. While not quite as overrun as Giverny, there are plenty of visitors, and signs for tourists have been strategically placed more-or-less where van Gogh painted, showing his great painting of the location on each sign.
With the image of the Church at Auvers shown above I decided to include the tourist sign in my image. I left the right side of the photo including the sign without manipulation, and worked the left side in post-production so that one could perhaps be stepping into the reality of a van Gogh painting—or maybe a kind of dream. Because, as Vincent van Gogh put it, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”