Arts Travel: Hightail It to Hogwarts

May 2010 | BY | Issue 72, Summer 2010 | 1 COMMENT

Hogwarts castle is home to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Credit: © 2010 Universal Orlando Resort

Have a hankering for some chocolate frogs or a nice, cold butterbeer? Then make your way down to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida to check out its completely immersive new theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Details for the park, which opens June 18, have been closely guarded. Universal worked with J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, along with the movies’ art director and production designer to make sure the new attraction stays true to the visual landscapes created in the films.

Visitors will enter the front archway of Hogsmeade to find an array of attractions, shops and restaurants. Stop by Ollivanders to be fitted for a wand, then head up to Hogwarts castle to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which brings the characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in a whole new way.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be unlike any other experience on earth,” says Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to see the looks on our guests’ faces as they enter this rich environment.” Log on to to learn more or book a travel package.

Arts Travel: Drive the Rockies

May 2010 | BY | Issue 72, Summer 2010 | NO COMMENTS

View from the Beartooth Highway drive. Credit: David J. Swift

Everybody loves a nice drive on a gorgeous day, but who likes the headache of mapping your route and planning an itinerary? A new website does all of the hard work for you—Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies gives you all the tools you need to plan a day trip, or a week away, to some of the most naturally beautiful spots on earth.

Start with the drive matcher to fit your personality and interests with one of the featured drives. The top 10 cover five states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming) and two Canadian provinces (Alberta and British Columbia). You can cruise the Beartooth Highway, tour the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway or circle the Yellowstone-Grand Teton Loop.

These destinations are known for their natural beauty, but don’t think they’re all hiking, biking and bird watching—although there is plenty of that. Provided maps and itineraries will also guide you to art galleries, restaurants and wine festivals.

Top 25 Small Cities

May 2010 | BY | Issue 72, Summer 2010 | 44 COMMENTS

Asheville, N.C.’s new signage program features work by city artists—more than 300 signs were produced with the help of local glass and metal artists. Credit: Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

1. Asheville, N.C.

Readers flew “the Land of the Sky” into the top spot in the Small Cities category for the first time this year. A walk along the streets of Asheville will prove why it deserves this honor, from the Art Deco buildings seen all over the city (including the town’s city hall) to the more than 50 galleries representing every medium. Reader Mark Flowers, of Alexander, N.C., explains, “Asheville’s creative scene runs from the visual art, the handmade craft arts, the music arts, down to the amazing small brewery arts. It’s a total package that brings me downtown whenever I am near.”

With two new public arts programs, Asheville is undergoing a downtown renaissance. In the city’s historical center, known as Pack Square, a new park opened this spring. Along with lush green space, Pack Square Park features an interactive water fountain (aptly named “Splashville”), an amphitheater decorated with handmade tiles, and original works of art by local artists.

Local artists also inspired the new Asheville signage program. More than 300 signs direct visitors and residents to almost 90 attractions, but what makes these signs special is in the details. The city’s artists were commissioned to create unique sign elements in the form of blown glass, bronze and wrought iron.

2. Santa Fe, N.M.

Santa Fe, N.M., has been globally recognized for its craft and folk art. Credit: Richard Khanlian

The landscape of Santa Fe is its own work of art—which explains why, for years, this city has inspired artists from across the country. Recognized globally for its folk art, this town, nicknamed “The City Different,” has been home to greats like painter Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Eliot Porter. An art lover’s paradise, Santa Fe’s Canyon Road features the city’s largest concentration of art galleries, and the city’s art market is considered to be one of the largest in the United States. “Santa Fe remains remarkably active in contemporary visual and performing arts for a city its size,” admires reader Dan Kushel of Buffalo, N.Y.

ART Santa Fe, held July 15-18 this year at the new Santa Fe Convention Center, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Returning to its original downtown location, this international contemporary art fair will feature a huge number of galleries, amazing installations and numerous workshops. Don’t miss popular events, including the new “How Things Are Made” exposition, which allows visitors to see the “nitty-gritty” of the production process through artist demonstrations.

3. Saugatuck, Mich.

Ox-Bow is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a retrospective of the school’s history.

A newcomer to the top three, Saugatuck, also known as “The Art Coast of Michigan,” may be a small town (with a population of just over 1,000), but it certainly has a large art scene. First becoming an arts destination during the 19th-century Arts and Crafts Movement, this artists’ colony continues to inspire with its beautiful beaches, harbors, unique shops and more than a dozen galleries. “Saugatuck has unique artists gathered together in a wonderful small-town atmosphere,” says reader Sharon Tilley from Monroe, Mich. Saugatuck also continues to be a peaceful retreat for residents of major cities like Chicago and Detroit who are looking to get in touch with their inner artist.

One of the more notable places in Saugatuck is the Ox-Bow school and artists’ residency, affiliated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Established in 1910, it is celebrating its 100th anniversary in a big way. In collaboration with the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, the school will be presenting the exhibit “A Place Called Ox-Bow, 100 Years of Connecting Art, Nature and People,” opening Memorial Day weekend and running the entire summer. It will include historical and contemporary photographs, an installation of architectural remnants and memorabilia, and information on alumni exhibitions.

4. Key West, Fla.

Artists install glass planes at Key West, Fla.’s International “Art-port.”

Up two spots from 2009, Key West has a buzzing arts scene. Visual artists are beginning to flock to the home of literary greats Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein and Ernest Hemingway. “Surprising nuggets of non-Florida-themed artwork dot Duval Street and surrounds,” notes AmericanStyle reader Carla Kestner of Amherst, N.Y. The area is a popular tourist attraction with bars, beer and dozens of art galleries.

A few blocks off of Duval Street, you will find a new gallery with a twist—The Key West Art Bar. Created by Barbara Grob, an artist turned entrepreneur, the bar offers workshops and classes, handmade jewelry, gifts, fine art, a performance space and, yes, booze.

Key West also offers art in unexpected places. The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the county’s Art in Public Places program have recently commissioned an installation of paintings and sculpture by local artists for the newly renovated terminals of the Key West International Airport. The pieces include large sculptures, indoor and outdoor murals, collages and oil paintings.

5. Sarasota, Fla.

Sarasota, Fla., has long been known as a cultural destination. Credit: Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau

Coming in at number 11 last year, Sarasota climbed into the top five with the help of AmericanStyle readers. Home of numerous art museums—including the popular John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, galleries, art centers and festivals, this Florida city has long been known as a cultural destination. “Sarasota is just without parallel in its uniqueness and commitment to the arts,” says reader Debra Mixon of Homosassa, Fla. A walk along Palm Avenue, one of the city’s centers for art, will show you how right she is.

Along with Manatee County, Sarasota will be debuting a brand-new art festival, Festival sARTée, to present the area’s best cultural assets—its local and regional artists. Held Oct. 8-24, Festival sARTée will feature a truly unique mix of visual arts, food art, circus art and more in venues throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. It will be running concurrently with the second annual Ringling International Arts Festival.

6. Sedona, Ariz.
7. Taos, N.M.
8. Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
9. Boulder, Colo.
10. Eureka Springs, Ark.
11. Corning, N.Y.
12. Northampton, Mass.
13. Annapolis, Md.
14. Naples, Fla.
15. Burlington, Vt.
16. Carmel, Calif.
17. Chapel Hill, N.C.
18. Frederick, Md.
19. New Hope, Pa.
20. Laguna Beach, Calif.
21. Aspen, Colo.
22. Bradenton, Fla.
23. Cumberland, Md.
24. Brattleboro, Vt.
25. Beaufort, S.C.

More Bang for your Buck: Wall Hangings

April 2010 | BY | Issue 69, October 2009 | NO COMMENTS

Renee Harris sees embroidery as a drawing tool in her small wall hangings. “Water Rising,” $850, incorporates silk fibers and hand-felted wool. Her work is available at Positive Images Art & Gallery in Austin, Texas, and the Gallery at Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Ore.

Masters of Their Domain

April 2010 | BY | Issue 69, October 2009 | NO COMMENTS

There’s no telling what piece will speak to a particular collector. Dana Dalton’s “Barbet” bird sculpture is shown here. Credit: Peter Groesbeck /

On a bright spring day, Marilynn Gelfman Karp found herself in a very familiar setting, a secondhand shop. A collector of many “unloved” items—shopping lists, Dixie ice cream lids, pencil sharpeners—as well as more traditional, and more lucrative, assemblages—American patchwork quilts, salt-glazed stoneware, Art Deco figures—she is always looking for her “Holy Grail.” That day, she thought she might find it in a box of picture postcards. Thumbing through the collection, she came across one depicting a man frozen in midair, hurtling from one dangerously high rock pile to another. From the looks of things, he had misjudged the distance.

And so, a new collection was born: “Leaps of Faith.” She has since added items like a heart-shaped frame with the silver reflective words “Remember Me” placed above a scowling woman’s portrait, and an arcade pocket charm with an inlaid Indian Head penny that reads,“Keep me and never go broke.”

Such is the life of a collector: an endless individual quest for the next big booty, and a unquestioning leap of faith, devoting countless hours and limitless funds, rearranging rooms, or packing up and relocating when space runs out.

For more of “Masters of Their Domain,” pick up the October 2009 issue of AmericanStyle today!

Caught in the Act

February 2010 | BY | Issue 71, Spring 2010 | NO COMMENTS

Attention to detail reigns supreme in Connie Jenkins’ Malibu studio. Credit: Donna Granata

Donna Granata is called the “Oprah of the arts,” a moniker she is quite proud of. The name refers to her unique ability to get artists, often solitary creatures by nature, to open up their homes, their lives, their fears and their hopes to her, and, by extension, to us. Granata is the founder of Focus on the Masters, a nonprofit art appreciation program that preserves and promotes the works and lives of contemporary artists in Ventura County, Calif.

Granata herself is an artist. The most compelling aspects of Focus on the Masters are her revealing portraits; she travels to each artist’s home or studio to take a “snapshot of where they are in their lives.” Granata says you can tell a lot about an artist from his or her studio. Connie Jenkins, an ultra-realist painter, keeps everything meticulously organized, illustrating the discipline her super-detailed work requires. When Granata visited sculptor David Elder, the first door she came to after passing through the vegetable and flower gardens was not for the house, but for the studio. Elder and his wife Linda were clearly saying, “This is who we are. First and foremost, we are artists.”

Being selected as a Focus on the Masters artist is an honor. Each year, a committee of artists, curators and art advocates sifts through nominations to select five men and five women to be formally documented. Artists are chosen based on mastery of their mediums, level of peer recognition and contribution to the community. Granata and her team then get to work compiling files for these 10 artists, collecting published work, recording oral histories, and, in the end, capturing them in a photographic portrait.

The resulting “vault full of incredible stories” is open to the public for research, and the portraits tour the community in special exhibitions. The idea, Granata says, is to preserve these artists and the profound role they play in a healthy society. “The artists who really survive history are those who write or are written about,” she says.

And those who are photographed. Twelve of Granata’s masterful portraits are featured here. Each offers an intimate look at the artist and his or her environment, frozen in time for generations to come.

To see more of Granata’s portraits, or to learn more about Focus on the Masters, visit

Credit: Donna Granata

David Elder

The home and studio that sculptor David Elder shares with his wife Linda are built on an ancient tribal meeting place of the Chumash Indians. “Most of our guests feel they are in a special place from the moment they set foot on the grounds,” the Elders say of their Ventura property overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Elder, a master craftsmen, and his wife lovingly handcrafted each detail of their shared studio space, from the giant carved-wood and copper doors displaying a pair of hawk’s wings to each of the hand-forged nails holding the place together.

Elder’s “Off the Rack Series” features carved-wood trompe l’oeil sculptures of women’s fashions. The inspiration for the piece he is working on in this portrait, taken in 2000, was the magazine clipping taped up on the right.

Credit: Donna Granata

Connie Jenkins

Painter Connie Jenkins’ attention to detail reigns supreme in her Malibu studio, photographed by Granata in 2000. The pile of paint chips on the left is a collection of scrapings from her palette, taken so she can exactly match the colors of the painting later on. Look closely enough, and you’ll notice that the landscape is dotted with red stickers to remind Jenkins of areas that need further attention.

Jenkins’ ultra-realistic oil paintings are translated from photographs that she takes herself, often in the canyons near her home. This particular piece, a commission for the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles, measures about 12×20 feet. Granata climbed a scaffold, camera and lighting in hand, to capture the shot.

Credit: Donna Granata

Gerri Johnson-McMillin

This portrait, taken in 2004, serves as a permanent reminder of a former phase in fiber and mixed-media artist Gerri Johnson-McMillin’s career. She spent 11 years in this studio at the Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo. She recently moved to a new location in Camarillo: a converted elementary school space.

No matter where she is, function is very important to Johnson-McMillin. She tries to create “a space that is peaceful and uncluttered, with materials openly displayed and easily at hand,” she says. “A space full of color and fiber.”

When she’s not in her studio, Johnson-McMillin spends much of her time boating with her husband Tom, also an artist. In recent years, she has turned to her love for the sea to create oceanic forms from materials like fishbone and monofilament. Her work will be showcased at Brandstater Gallery at La Sierra University in Riverside through March 8.

Credit: Donna Granata

Gary Lang

If you produce 13-foot paintings that vibrate with color, you need a large studio. Painter Gary Lang had just completed his new 2,000-square-foot Ojai studio, overlooking an orchard on the property he shares with wife and fellow artist Ruth Pastine, when Granata paid him a visit in 2008. She used a special lens to exaggerate the brilliant lines and circles of color that draw viewers deep into his canvases.

“With a studio space, you want a luminous, spacious box with an unassuming architecture that submits to your reverie,” Lang says. “The building doesn’t speak, it listens.” He says that the impeccable light in the studio offers him “the visibility of Superman.” He paints freehand, without the use of rulers or tape.

In the past year, Lang has developed a strong relationship with Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills. He is working with them on an exhibit in Beijing later this year.

Credit: Donna Granata

Richard Matzkin

Sculptor Richard Matzkin shares studio space with his wife Alice, a painter, who is the subject of the bust he is working on in this portrait. They converted the space from a dingy, windowless garage to a “quiet space filled with natural morning light,” he says.

Granata took some creative liberties arranging the sculptures in the background—mostly figures of old men and women, Matzkin’s favorite subjects—as the shelves tend to get a bit cluttered. She did leave the box of clay, one of Matzkin’s tools of the trade, visible on the floor.

Matzkin and his wife have recently created an art and inspirational book, The Art of Aging: Celebrating the Authentic Aging Self (Sentient Publications), which is in bookstores now. Two of his recent lines of sculpture focus on older subjects. “Lovers,” a series of elderly couples in tender embraces, “portrays what everyone desires for his or her relationships—enduring love,” he says.

Credit: Donna Granata

Jim McCarthy

The home that wood artist Jim McCarthy has created with his wife, painter Christine Brennan, is truly a labor of love. What started as a 670-square-foot bungalow in Ojai has been transformed into a customized space with evidence of the artists’ own hands tucked into every nook. “We added on to our small house back in 2000, but I wonder if it will ever be complete,” McCarthy says. “We’re always refining something, changing things, taking notes for future work.”

Granata captured much of the furniture maker’s own work in this portrait, taken in 2002—he handcrafted the lighting fixtures, railing, even the windowsills. The painting is Brennan’s.

McCarthy’s other great love is music. He and Brennan designed their music room from top to bottom, including a recording studio completely encased in a rolling cabinet. In addition to working on furniture commissions, McCarthy has begun making acoustic guitars again, after a 25-year hiatus.

Credit: Donna Granata

Sylvia Raz

Living and working at what used to be a center for Buddhist meditation has gifted mixed-media artist Sylvia Raz with a great sense of appreciation for the beauty of the world around her. “Although my work likes to point at our society’s shortcomings, I feel more inclined to want my art to help people feel better about life and themselves,” she says.

Although much of Raz’s work has a serious message, Granata wanted to focus on her humorous side in this portrait in her Ojai studio by including the piece on the right, which depicts haloed chickens floating up to heaven amidst clouds covered with poultry recipes. “With great good humor she invites you into her world,” Granata says.

Raz enjoys participating in local exhibitions with her own children, photographer Alan Raz and painter Karyn Raz. Using found objects like Barbie dolls, she explores a number of issues affecting women today.

Credit: Donna Granata

Michael Rohde

When fiber artist Michael Rohde searched for the perfect house 18 years ago, he knew it needed a room large enough to accommodate his 8-foot loom. He found the ideal location at the end of a canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. Just outside his studio is a shady patio where he hand-mixes his natural dyes.

Rohde’s tapestries are influenced by his travels to places like Tibet, China and Indonesia. His studio is full of treasures he’s picked up along the way. “I’m attracted to boxes and containers, unique pottery, small figures or dolls that show the costume of other cultures,” he says.

Granata was struck by Rohde’s long and lean figure, and how this same shape is mimicked in his fiber work. When posing Rohde, she placed his hand in a way that emphasized his long fingers.

Rohde recently began creating knotted vessels in addition to his tapestries. His work will be shown at the Palos Verdes Art Center through March 27. He is also co-chairing the American Tapestry Alliance’s Biennial 8, which will be traveling the country through mid-2011.

Credit: Donna Granata

Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend

Glass artist Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend considers herself a painter; she paints with glass on glass. Her inspirations come from everyday life—her designs float through glass the way thoughts float through her mind.

Stinsmuehlen-Amend shares her Ojai home with her husband, fellow artist Richard Amend. This 2008 portrait captures some of her most common inspirations: the desktop doodles she mindlessly jots while she’s on the phone.

Granata is impressed with the layers and layers of meaning that Stinsmuehlen-Amend manages to weave into work, as well as the way she was always able to balance art with her duties as a busy mother. “She’s always carved out time for her art,” Granata says.

Credit: Donna Granata

Cheryl Ann Thomas

This portrait, taken in 2005, captures ceramic artist Cheryl Ann Thomas during a very uncertain time in her life, just weeks after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked Granata to include the black crow on the right as a symbol of her mortality, but also of her determination to recover. Today, Thomas is cancer-free.

“My work is an intimate and experiential inquiry into fragility and loss. I construct, I sabotage, I reconcile,” says Thomas, who is known for her coiled vessels. She recently began experimenting with lost-wax bronze sculpture. This portrait was taken in Thomas’s former studio, located in the Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo. She has since moved to a new, industrial studio space in Ventura. “I like a quiet, bare space, free of distractions,” she says.

Thomas is currently preparing for a January 2011 exhibit at the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica.

Credit: Donna Granata

Leslie Thompson

Leslie Thompson’s black-and-white porcelain vessels are amazing feats of precision. She doesn’t measure anything; she creates the designs using tiny tick marks to divide and subdivide the spaces again and again. Her works are strongly influenced by both Pueblo pottery and Amish quilts.

This 2008 portrait was taken in Thompson’s meticulous studio (she admits she’s been called obsessive-compulsive), inside the 2,900-square-foot Oak View home she shares with her husband Simon Chatwin, a computer programmer. The home’s cylindrical exterior is reminiscent of Navajo hogans or Pueblo kivas. It’s a wonderfully creative space for the couple; Thompson’s studio is right across from her husband’s woodworking room.

Credit: Donna Granata

Kathleen Waggoner

Ceramic artist Kathleen Waggoner’s 2005 portrait came about thanks to a bit of serendipity; Waggoner, who shared a studio with Cheryl Ann Thomas, happened to be firing late the night Granata came to take Thomas’s picture. The yellow bracelet she wears is in honor of Thomas’s battle with cancer.

Waggoner is planning to move to her new studio space in April—the same old elementary school where Gerri Johnson-McMillin relocated. A sense of camaraderie is important to Waggoner in a studio space; she likes to be near other artists. “I surround myself with my finished work on pedestals, like close friends,” she says. “This also creates a gallery feeling for visitors to view my work.”

Themes of the sacred feminine are very important in Waggoner’s work. Recent travels to South America have greatly influenced her current pieces. “My work is now more detailed and colorful, with a more obvious spiritual component,” she says. Waggoner has recently started a relationship with Primavera Gallery in Ojai.

In Memoriam

February 2010 | BY | Issue 71, Spring 2010 | NO COMMENTS

Sculptor Ruth Duckworth

Renowned sculptor Ruth Duckworth, 90, died Oct. 18 in Chicago after a brief illness. Duckworth was known for her range of work—from small to massive—including unpainted organic forms in porcelain and stoneware, and large-scale murals and sculptures installed in public spaces. The German-born sculptor was a longtime professor at the University of Chicago, and stayed in the U.S. because she found a greater acceptance of her large abstract pieces there. Duckwork continued to work at her large studio in a former pickle factory until six weeks before her death.

Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon, one half of the first-names-only-please artist pair Christo and Jeanne-Claude, died Nov. 18 in New York of a brain aneurysm. She was 74. The husband-and-wife team was recently noted for their 2005 16-day installation of 7,500 gates draped with orange material in New York’s Central Park. The Morocco-born artist was the mouthpiece for their work, explaining, “Our art has absolutely no purpose, except to be a work of art. We do not give messages.”

Honk If You Love the Arts

February 2010 | BY | Issue 71, Spring 2010 | NO COMMENTS

How is the California Arts Council dealing with a shortage of funding for the arts? By hitting the road. Its current campaign to put arts license plates on 1 million vehicles throughout the state would bring in $40 million in art funding, and a recent ruling making the special plates tax deductible may be just the driving force the council needs.

“Our economy relies on creative minds, artistic organizations and innovative workers,” says council chair Malissa Feruzzi Shriver. “Yet our per capita state investment in the arts is the lowest in the nation.”

The plates, designed by artist Wayne Thiebaud, account for more than 60 percent of the council’s total budget. About $35 of each $50 plate purchase goes directly towards the arts. For more information on how to purchase the plates, visit

San Diego’s Flower Power

February 2010 | BY | Issue 71, Spring 2010 | NO COMMENTS

Leah Pardo Tramer created this flower design, inspired by George Dawe’s “Portrait of a Dignitary in Turkish Costume,” for last year’s Art Alive event. Credit: Gift of Anne R. and Amy Putnam, 1943:42/San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art is bringing spring inside gallery walls at its 29th annual Art Alive event, April 29-May 2. Award-winning floral designers from across the country will create floral arrangements inspired by pieces in the museum’s permanent collection.

With vibrant displays of color, texture and shape, “Art Alive invites visitors to experience art in a new way,” says executive director Derrick Cartwright. The popular event, drawing in more than 10,000 attendees each year, has become the museum’s primary fundraiser.

Special events include an opening celebration on April 29, floral demonstrations and an after-hours party with music and cocktails on April 30, and a flower-inspired family arts workshop on May 1. Visit to purchase tickets to any of the events.

Clue in van Gogh’s Ear Mystery

February 2010 | BY | Issue 71, Spring 2010 | NO COMMENTS

“Still-Life: Drawing Board with Onions” is on view at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Credit: Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands

An envelope depicted in a painting by Vincent van Gogh may finally solve the mystery of why the troubled artist famously cut off his ear.

Until now, no one paid much attention to the envelope in “Still-Life: Drawing Board with Onions,” painted in January 1889. Scholars now believe that the letter was written by van Gogh’s brother Theo to share the news of his engagement. The thought of losing his brother’s emotional and financial support may very well have led to the self-mutilation.

The letter in the painting probably reached van Gogh on Dec. 23, 1888, the very day he cut off his ear. The handwriting is Theo’s, and it is addressed to van Gogh. An encircled number 67 on the envelope was used by a post office close to Theo’s apartment in Montmartre, Paris. A postmark reading Jour de l’An (New Year’s Day), was used in the 19th century by the Paris postal system starting in mid-December.

Previous theories as to what triggered the mutilation have included mental illness caused by lead paint, the end of a friendship with fellow artist Paul Gauguin, or an argument with Gauguin over a prostitute named Rachel.

The painting is part of “The Real van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters” at
the Royal Academy of Arts in London through April 18.

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