Village of Vincent van Gogh and Joris Ivens: Wasmes in Belgium

This is a video of the film The Spanish Earth, by Joris Ivens.

Translated from Dutch daily NRC, 11 November (paper edition):

When in 1933 [Dutch film maker] Joris Ivens, jointly with [Belgian film maker] Henri Storck went to the Borinage [in Belgium], to film the miners’ strikes, he went in the footsteps of Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh from January till August 1879, working as an auxiliary Protestant preacher and evangelist, rented a room above a baker’s shop in Wasmes.

Later, the baker’s wife told that the young man lay crying in his bed every night because of the cruel fate of the people.

After some time, Vincent walked about 60 kilometres back to Brussels, to try to start as an artist there.

On the cemetery of Brussels-Elsene is the grave of the painter Anna Boch (1848-1936).

In 1890, she would be the only one to buy a painting, Les vignes rouges, by Van Gogh when he was still alive.

Vincent van Gogh, Les vignes rouges

Today this is still a convincing warning against free market rhetoric on arts. …

In 1933, that Karl Marx had died fifty years ago then, had been remembered [in Wasmes] with a march: six months later, Ivens ‘reconstructed’ that march in the same place, as happens more often in documentary films.

Van Gogh’s Borinage: Follow the painter’s footsteps in Belgium: here.

Also on art and society issues, of today in the USA: here.