At Denver VanGogh show, a long-time fan gets a taste of home
Dec 25, 2021
Van Gogh Denver

Mary Lou Coleman prepares for the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in Denver with her daughters Pam LeBlanc and Angela Pierce. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

My mom, a career librarian, so admires Vincent Van Gogh that she modeled a room in her house after his painting, “Bedroom in Arles.”

It was perfect, down to the red blanket folded at the end of the narrow bed, water pitcher on a small table, and wicker chair against one wall. The 1888 oil painting depicts the bedroom where he stayed in the Yellow House in Arles.

But this year, she had to leave that house, with its special room, behind. We moved my mom, now 85 and struggling with confusion issues and unable to live alone, to Denver, where my sister Angie and her husband John lives.

van gogh denver

During the exhibit, images painted by Van Gogh stream across the walls. Pam LeBlanc photo

She’s pretty vocal about her dislike of the place, and we’ve been trying hard to cheer her up. My other sister came for a visit at Thanksgiving, and my husband and I zipped up to spend a few days over the Christmas hoidays.

So what to do with an 84-year-old, mobility-impaired woman with limited energy and a love of art? The immersive Van Gogh exhibit, of course.

Read more: Martin Dies Jr. State Park is an East Texas treasure

You’ve probably seen it. Various versions of the exhibit have been touring the country, and a new one will feature Frida Kahlo.

van gogh denver

Mary Lou Coleman and her daughter Angela Pierce watch the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in Denver. Pam LeBlanc photo

The Denver Van Gogh exhibit

Visitors to the Dallas version of the exhibit walk through a room the size of a baseball diamond as moving images project across the walls and among mirrored columns, arches and spires. Music swells and dims with the video. Paint flows over every wall. Purple irises burst in fields of lush green leaves. Faces fade in and out. Steam rises from a group of people gathered around a table of boiled potatoes.

Mom pushed her transit chair into the room, gazing at the walls like she was watching a spaceship land on the moon. We watched as she remembered every painting. When the bedroom painting moved across the wall, she ooohed and aaaaahed.

She loved it.

Tickets to the exhibit cost $40 to $55, and it continues through Feb 21. For more information at www.denvervangogh.com.

van gogh denver

Mary Lou Coleman stands in front of an image of Vincent Van Gogh. Pam LeBlanc photo

 

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