Archive for May, 2009

Thoughts for May

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Has anyone seen my ear?

Vincent van Gogh There are some great stories in the history of art and the characters are often every bit as colourful as their own works. Now it turns out that, 121 years after the event, we may all have been misled about the loss of Vincent van Gogh’s ear. It’s hard to tell which version of the story is more demeaning – the well-known account that Vincent chopped his own ear off in a bout of deep depression or that his erstwhile friend Paul Gauguin sliced it off with his sword in a fight outside a brothel. Even Rachel, the prostitute to whom Vincent apparently entrusted the severed lobe, must have taken the truth with her to her grave.

Whether the sword was mightier in this instance than the paintbrush may never be known for certain but the long-standing alliance between these two artists, and its demise following the event is fairly well documented. Gauguin decamped to Tahiti, itself becoming the backdrop for some of his most famous works. Van Gogh remained in France and, while his depression deepened and he found himself in and out of care institutions, he too continued to produce works of outstanding quality. His sad departure from the world came in 1890. In a deep blackness, he took himself for a walk in fields and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. The seriousness of this event seems to have been lost on him as he returned to his lodgings only to die of his wounds two days later.

His legacy is a superb range of works that has inspired, and indeed made, millions. His lifelong closeness with his brother Theo was captured in their correspondence and any fans should be sure to read a copy of "The Letters of Vincent van Gogh"

- Mark Hayhurst


Painting a Wall
at the Finborough Theatre, London

Painting a Wall

We are delighted to be the main sponsor of a brand new production of David Lan’s acclaimed play Painting a Wall which opens on the 12th May for a four-week run at the Finborough Theatre in London. We have 3 pairs of tickets to give away to lucky visitors – see below.

Set in Cape Town in 1970, Painting a Wall follows a day in the life of four Cape Coloured South African painters, living under apartheid. It follows them in their task of painting public walls government-regulation white. They’ve got one hour to do it and they’ve got to hurry up about it, or risk no pay and harsh punishment. The only thing is… they’ve been given the wrong colour paint.

Stephen Daldry called Painting a Wall a "hugely effective, deeply emotional attack on a political system" but avoiding political debate, it focuses simply on the painters – Henry, Peter, Willy and Samson – and their jokes, dreams and vivid storytelling as they work together to triumph over the struggles and frustrations of their lives.

If you would like the chance of winning a pair of tickets to see this superb play on us then simply send an email to with the subject line "Painting a Wall Tickets" – we will draw the 3 winning entries from our virtual hat on the 15th of May.

Alternatively you can book directly with the theatre:

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED
Box Office 0844 847 1652
Times and ticket prices are available online at

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Here’s May’s selection of works from our artists with a quartet of pieces from the many that deserve your attention:

"Touch of Love"
by Ezequiel Mabote

From a range of Limited Edition Woodcut Prints, this piece shows great tenderness. Ezequiel exemplifies the ability of storytelling through art, drawing on childhood memories and evoking the emotions of a past time.

Aloneness and Loneliness are portrayed in this work which is a good example of Peter’s studies of the Human Form.It captures the isolation and the anticipation and in its own way challenges us to make up the story that fills in the gaps.

"A Moment in Time"
by Peter Matthews

"Maggie and Albert"
by Lavonne Bosman

Photography is sometimes looked down on as an artform yet the image captured here and the other Township studies that Lavonne has produced demonstrate that the art can be every bit as emotive and evocative. A great example of a moment captured in time – another life which we are able to observe for a moment yet which asks us to consider our own existence and appreciate what we have.

We have followed Nikodemis’ work as an artist for a number of years and he has always been prolific and versatile. As varied a portfolio as you are likely to find, his comprises paintings, prints, sculptures and a number which defy classification. This piece is especially Dali-esque – read his own comments and see what you think…

"Shamanarchy in the desert"
by Nikodemis van Rensburg

" The flat sound of my wooden clogs on the cobblestones, deep, hollow and powerful, is the note I seek in my painting. "
- Paul Gauguin

New Artists

We have talented new artists coming on the site all the time and in recent weeks we have welcomed the following who have already listed a number of excellent works:

" When I’ve painted a woman’s bottom so that I want to touch it, then the painting is finished. "
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Tell us how we’re doing!

As ever we would welcome any feedback and comments you might have. Feel free to drop us a line ( ) with any comments or ideas you might have for promoting these superb artists even more widely. We also welcome art-themed submissions for our regular newsletters of short stories or anecdotes about art, your experiences, what inspired you or anything that you think may be of interest.

Yours in inspiration,

All the team at
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