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"Still Life with Prozac®"

Vincent van Gark.

The Depressionist painter van Gark was a pioneer in the application of pharmaceutical chemistry to art. Originally trained as a druggist's assistant, he soon became intrigued with what he called "the innerspace light show" provoked by different combinations of readily available chemicals. He turned to art as a way of recording and expressing these "mind-bending" experiments, which he was unable to otherwise articulate.


His first success came with "Corn Field with Crows on 'Shrooms." This was closely followed by "Yellow Room Bad Trip," "Wheat Field with Cypresses on Cocaine," and his masterpiece, "Starry Night on Blotter Acid."


Unfortunately he then turned to opiates, which led to the "bummed out" phase of his work, culminating in his "Self-portrait with Mainlined Morphine," often referred to as "Earless in Arles," since it was during this time that he accidentally whacked off an ear with a palette knife without realizing what he had done until, in his own words. "like, I wondered how I could afford all the cadmium red, man."


His experiences with opium led to the "Whoa! Sunflowers, dude!" period, perhaps his best work although done in a state of chronic constipation brought on by the drug. Eventually van Gark's brother Theo managed to get him into rehab, in the course of which he painted many Depressionist masterworks, especially still lifes like the one shown here, which he presented to the bar's owner in exchange for three bottles of absinthe and a place to flop.



"Still Life with Prozac" was acquired through a generous grant from the Eli Lilly Corporation.



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