At the moment, I am in Amsterdam on a work trip. I had a little time for sightseeing after I arrived this past weekend, so this is going to be a pictorial post. I also had the great fortune of visiting with my friend Tamara, who came up from Paris for a few days. (It is a very good thing to have such a friend in Europe . . . we’ve met up in Geneva before, and last year in Paris.)

We started Sunday with a visit to the KattenKabinet, a museum with works of art depicting all manner of felines. There was a large painting of a celestial, potentially malevolent cat over Montmartre that we won’t soon forget.
Afternoon cocktails and bitterballen
Sunset in Vondelpark, Part 1
Sunset in Vondelpark, Part 2
Sunset in Vondelpark, Part 3
“Undergrowth”, 1889 (L) and “Avenue of poplars in autumn”, 1884, (R)

We concluded our visit with a trip to the Van Gogh Museum. I had been once before, about ten years ago. In reviewing my travel journals of the era, I saw where “. . . there is a painting he did — an avenue of poplars, that really spoke to me.” It didn’t take me long to spot it in the galleries, and then Tamara had the good eye to find the postcard in one of the countless gift shops in the museum.

Ten years on, I had another Van Gogh painting speak to me. This time, it was Undergrowth. It’s amazing to me what a transformation he made in just five years. Where Undergrowth is very Van Gogh-y, Poplars is not (at least not to my untrained eye). There’s definitely something nascent in Poplars, for sure, but it doesn’t yet have those indelible strokes that marked his last years.

Definitely don’t want to dwell on the emotional turmoil that marked his final years, and eventually claimed his life. So I’ll just say I’m glad his art is still around one hundred years on, speaking to countless others. I’m also glad he never felt the need to paint malevolent cats over Montmartre.

And finally, I’m very grateful for the time spent with a good friend.




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