Alison Richman returns with a fascinating new novel about the last years of Vincent van Gogh's life.
Alison Richman was born in New York to a family of artists. She graduated in art history from the prestigious Wesleyan Women's College in the state of Massachusetts. Twenty-five-year-old ambitious Alison plans to get married, have children, and write her first book before she turns thirty. Two years later, her debut novel appeared on the market, but the real success came with her fourth book - The Lost Wife. The story of Lenka and Josef became an international bestseller in a few months, translated into fourteen languages.
The Lost Wife won the 2012 Annual Readers Award for Best Novel by a New York author. The book quickly gained admirers in Bulgaria as well, and after it the publishing house "Hermes" published two more exciting novels by the author: "The Rhythm of Memories" and "The Italian Garden".
About "Van Gogh's Last Painting"
In the summer of 1890, Marguerite Gachet found an opportunity to leave her home and headed to the station. And here he is – in a white shirt, an unbuttoned waistcoat and a wide-brimmed straw hat. Vincent van Gogh gets off the train.
The artist arrives in Auvers-sur-Oise – an idyllic French village that has attracted Parisian artists for centuries. Twenty-one-year-old Marguerite Gachet also grew up here, taking care of her father and brother. Here, too, Van Gogh will spend the last summer of his life, leaving himself in the care of Doctor Gachet - homeopath, amateur artist and collector. During these months, Van Gogh will paint over 70 paintings, two of them are portraits of Marguerite. However, the artist did not suspect that he would not only capture her image in his paintings, but also capture her heart.
A beautiful story that reveals the secrets of the last months of Van Gogh's life. – Vriendin Magazine
"Van Gogh's Last Painting" is a harmonious symphony… Richman's style is gentle, yet penetrating. The writer proves that she can travel in time and recreate the past. – En Route Magazine
"Van Gogh's Last Painting" paints the portrait of a woman and her life at the end of the 19th century… An impactful and touching story. – Tulip Magazine
3 interesting facts about "Van Gogh's Last Painting"
1. Marguerite Gachet is a real person.
In 1890, Van Gogh spent 3 months at the home of doctor and art connoisseur Dr. Paul Gachet in Auvers-sur-Oise, where he met and befriended his children Marguerite and Paul. This period turned out to be extremely favorable for the artist, and among the numerous works he created at that time are the portraits of Marguerite and Dr. Gachet.
2. Daniel Silva mentions Marguerite Gachet in one of his novels.
Fans of espionage thrillers know that Gabriel Alon - the popular character of Silva's books - is not only a spy, but also a skilled restorer. In his novel "The Messenger", the writer tells about Van Gogh's last days in Auvers-sur-Oise and the painting "Marguerite Gachet at her dressing table". However, it turns out that such a picture does not exist, but this does not make the plot any less curious for readers.
3. A letter that Vincent van Gogh wrote in the last week before his death inspired a film unique to the world of cinema.
"To Love Vincent" is the first feature film in the history of cinema to be made using animated pictures. In it, over 62,000 oil paintings come to life on screen to tell the story of Vincent van Gogh's life and death. The film is voiced by famous actors chosen for their resemblance to the characters in Van Gogh's paintings, with Sirsa Ronan playing the role of Marguerite Gachet.
And one more interesting fact…
And today you could retrace Van Gogh's footsteps in Auvers sur Oise. Dr. Gachet's house has been turned into a museum, in which, in addition to paintings by Van Gogh, works by Pissarro, Cézanne, Renoir and others can be seen. The inn, which witnessed the artist's last moments, has also been preserved.
Only 30 kilometers from Paris, Auvers-sur-Oise still has its former charm. The cute village is actually a kind of open-air museum where you can walk for hours and feel part of an artist's painting.
I was wearing a new dress this afternoon. Pale blue, with small white flowers embroidered along the hem and around the neckline. I remember that at the last minute, just before I started down the stairs, I went back to get a white ribbon for my hair. I didn't usually tie my hair with a ribbon as I didn't do complicated hairstyles at home and covered it with a towel. But today, quite purposefully, I took the thin strip of silk and tied it. I adjusted one end to fall on my collarbone and the other on my shoulder. I longed to be noticed among my father's collection of paintings and shadowy black furniture.
While I brewed the tea and arranged the little yellow cupcakes I had baked earlier, papa? and Vincent had gone out into the garden. Vincent sat next to Pope? on the big red garden table. The overhanging branches of our two lemons framed their faces. Pope? he seemed somewhat relieved as he talked about art, the joy the printing press brought him, and his own experiments with oil paints and pastels. And Vincent also seemed to feel at ease in the company of Pope?. How I wished that day I had been invited to join in their conversation! But they had isolated themselves among the flowers and the shadows of the trees, and I continued to wander between the garden gate and the kitchen.
I was aware of the facts. I knew that Vincent had come to Auvers as a patient of Pope?, but that did not dampen my interest in him. He didn't look sick. He was pale, but not painfully so. Perhaps there was something slightly sloppy about his appearance that only added to his appeal. I could tell you now that he possessed something I never met again: a rare mixture of vulnerability and boldness. How I envied the bees perching in the rosebushes, that they could hear all that papa? and Vincent were talking. I wanted to look into his face, to see which of my flowers caught his eye. Did he think my violet hair was beautiful and worthy of drawing? Was he intrigued by the medicinal plants that Pope? was growing near the front door? Had he noticed the ivy-covered wall of one of the two cellars on our property? The one in which the Pope? held the wine and cheese? Later, during the war, the most valuable paintings in his collection would be kept there: those of Vincent.