You know this Van Gogh painting? "Cafe Terrace at Night"? --
Of course you do. Everyone does. One in six college students buys a print of it when they're first looking to decorate their walls with something classy, and most keep it long after graduation. (Me, I actually had a print of "Starlight Over the Rhone," and I still have it, but I digress.)
Well, the original of that painting is in Seattle right now. And we saw it. For free. On a Monday night when it's usually Important People Only at the Seattle Art Museum. How? Because, by a lucky twist of fate, the SAM is undergoing a huge renovation, and I work for the construction company that got the bid. So by extension we employees (and our families) are Friends of the Arts, and they invited us in for one special day.
In truth this isn't bragging. I was just trying to sound obnoxious. In truth, this is a public service announcement. That painting is exquisite and if you live in Seattle you should get down there and see the exhibit before it leaves in September. Many of the others in the collection, Vincent's especially, are also gorgeous, and of course there's a thrill in stepping up close and seeing the actual brush strokes that he put there. But the "Cafe Terrace" is stunning. With some famous paintings, I must admit I don't really see the attraction. I'm not sure I would have looked twice at the "Mona Lisa," myself. However, this one deserves its fame. It's just as beautiful as you would hope. Or at least I thought so.
This collection is only stopping in one other place in the U.S. (Atlanta's High Museum) before returning to its home in the Netherlands, so really, do see it if you can.
And I don't blame you one bit if you own a print of it.