Vincent Van Gogh 60 - Judged By Mijnheer Tersteeg Poem by Geeta Radhakrishna Menon

Vincent Van Gogh 60 - Judged By Mijnheer Tersteeg

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While Vincent stood in a daze admiring the ambience
Of the Goupil gallery, lined with fabulous paintings,
Mijnheer Tersteeg, who was walking down the stairs
Stopped, when he noticed Vincent, his former clerk,
Standing awkwardly, holding a clumsy bundle under his arm.
Tersteeg did not the miss the short-cropped hair,
Or Vincent's red stubbles, spread all over his face,
Nor his working man's coat and his peasant's boots.
It struck Tersteeg that Vincent was a misfit
To this elegant environment, where class dominated.

The two men greeted each other casually.
Tersteeg, getting to the point quickly, asked him
To show his paintings, as he took him to his office.
Vincent handed him a series of paintings of Borinage.
Then, his drawings of peasants and labourers of Etten,
And a third set of copies that he made just a few days
Before he decided to make this trip to The Hague.
Tersteeg looked at the copies, one after the other,
Except for a brief sound like …..Hmmm…..,
Tersteeg maintained a stony silence that alarmed Vincent.

Vincent waited for the judgement from Mijnheer Tersteeg.
But the grave, long silence meant his work was bad.
He felt sick. Vincent broke the silence by asking:
" Don't you see any improvement at all Mijnheer Tersteeg?
Don't you think that my Brabant sketches better than
The ones from the Borinage? "
"Well, he replied. They are better. But they are not good.
There is something fundamentally wrong.
Just what it is I can't say offhand.
I think you had better keep to your copying for a time."

Tersteeg continued to give his judgement.
"You are not ready to do original work yet.
You must get a better grasp of elementals
Before you turn to life." Vincent was stunned.
However, Vincent humbly replied: " I would like
To come to The Hague to study. Do you think
It is a good idea? " Tersteeg replied:
"The Hague is a nice place. We have good galleries and
A number of young painters. But whether it is better
Than Antwerp, Paris or Brussels, I am sure I don't know."

A Biographical Poem

Vincent Van Gogh 60 -  Judged By Mijnheer Tersteeg
These poems are biographical poems on the famed painter- Vincent Van Gogh. All information on Vincent Van Gogh is taken and is based on two great books - ‘Lust for life' & ‘Dear Theo' - a biography and an autobiography respectively, penned by the famed American Author - Irving Stone. Dear friends and Poets, Thank you so much for reading this series on Vincent Van Gogh's life. I am ever grateful to all the poets who are reading these poems. I do hope you will continue to read them. Ever obliged for your kind comments. When Vincent reached The Hague and entered the Art galleries of Goupil & company, he felt humbled. This was a grand place inhabited by the rich and famous. Will his humble paintings of diggers, farmers, miners and labourers ever be appreciated? Will any one buy it? His thoughts proved right. Mijnheer Tersteeg looked at Vincent's work and condemned it as quite bad. Vincent Van Gogh Painting -The Cottage, woman with a goat -1885
Dr Dillip K Swain 04 March 2023

Another wonderful episode.....liked it

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Vincent Van Gogh was casting pearls before swines! His fate? God is to blame?

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The poetess is a genius in English as she has magnificently narrated the incident!

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Anil Kumar Panda 04 March 2023

Enjoying the write up. Loved your style of story telling. Thanks.

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Richard Wlodarski 22 March 2023

2) Geeta, once again, you've created masterful suspense. And you are so very good at it!

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Richard Wlodarski 22 March 2023

First impressions are so very important. Tersteeg has judged Vincent as a 'misfit'. And he doesn't even know what is ' fundamentally wrong with the paintings'. I'm wondering who really is the misfit.

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Rajnish Manga 08 March 2023

The narrative is as interesting as it is dramatic. It becomes poignant towards the end. Vincent constantly went through ups and downs in his life.

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This poem has now entered the list of Best Poems of Members. Congratulations Geeta

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Geeta is quite adept a story teller. The van Gogh story moves on… good piece…. Set backs, failures all marred his life…

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