Where is the Spiritual Home of Working Artists?
Who can go from suffering at their desk one moment to finding solace in their spiritual refuge the next?
No matter where one is at this moment, there is a spiritual home that young people yearn for and have yet to meet, whether it be in Iceland, Naples, or the azure coast of southern France… It seems that wandering thoughts can be settled and ignited here.
Just as Van Gogh went to Arles and Monet had Giverny, for wandering artists, their birthplace may only be a passing place, but their spiritual home is eternal. Fortunately, artists have all found it.
While people in the 21st century are still thinking about saving up “fuck you” money and leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, Gauguin had already firmly decided to do so in the 19th century.
Gauguin painting happily in French Polynesia
Although born in the dreamy and noisy Paris, Gauguin believed that the spiritual island he was looking for was the scattered pearl in the center of the South Pacific – Tahiti.
Just like what Maugham said in “The Moon and Sixpence”: “In his lonely soul, he had all sorts of strange thoughts and finally set off for a strange and desolate island that ignited his rich imagination.”
On this tropical paradise, the lush plants, scorching sun, and exotic customs seemed to have completely released Gauguin’s artistic soul.
Gauguin visited Tahiti twice and lived here for nearly 8 years. He painted the girls here, the mountains and seas here, and the vivid and simple primitive life here. He became one of the locals and left behind classic works that belong only to this place.
Gauguin’s largest and most famous work completed in French Polynesia: “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”, 1897
Cape Cod, USA
When we think of the city that inspired Edward Hopper the most, we might first think of New York City, which he depicted in many of his paintings. However, besides New York, Cape Cod, a seaside resort located in southeastern Massachusetts, seems more like Hopper’s summer refuge.
Hopper first visited Cape Cod in 1930, and in 1934, he and his wife Josephine built a simple summer cottage here. Of the 84 summers in Hopper’s life, nearly 40 were spent here, making it an important crossroads for the development of Hopper’s style.
Hopper’s classic work in Cape Cod, “Cape Cod Morning,” 1950
Unlike the city of New York, this vast land of “bluer blues and redder reds, where the sea and sky are mirrors,” gave Edward Hopper a different inspiration. Hopper left more than 100 works in Cape Cod, painting the houses and lighthouses here, as well as the mornings and evenings. Perhaps a part of Hopper’s soul remains in the beautiful Cape Cod.
Hopper’s depictions of Cape Cod cottages at different times
David Hockney, born in England and famous in America, may have found inspiration in the splashing pools of California, but now in his 80s, he is deeply in love with the pastoral countryside of Normandy, France. So, in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Hockney decided to capture the arrival of spring there.
He doesn’t venture far from his house, which he calls the “house of the seven dwarfs,” and he doesn’t see many people. He is busy with his own work, saying, “We are very busy here because many flowers have bloomed, and there are still many more to come.”
And he proudly tells everyone, “I am teaching the French how to paint Normandy!”
In these spring paintings, Hockney also shows us the preciousness of his spiritual homeland:
Despite the complexity and chaos of the outside world, the small world we guard can remain almost unchanged.
Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, USA
Georgia O’Keeffe once told Andy Warhol, “I lived alone at the end of the world for a long time.”
For her, the end of the world was her own spiritual highland, in the vast and desolate landscape of New Mexico in the western United States. It was here that O’Keeffe found her home for the latter half of her life – Ghost Ranch.
O’Keeffe living alone at Ghost Ranch
Perhaps to escape the complexities of New York, or perhaps feeling a spiritual calling here, O’Keeffe first set foot in New Mexico in 1917. She officially moved here in 1949 and spent the last 40 years of her life living and creating independently at Ghost Ranch.
She painted flowers, wilderness, bones, and sky, all with a sense of vitality. O’Keeffe passed away in 1986, and as per her wishes, her ashes were scattered in front of Ghost Ranch’s Pedernal Mountain, completing an eternal gaze.
Pedernal Mountain depicted in O’Keeffe’s painting
Salvador Dali was a Spanish surrealist artist born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. He is known for his bizarre and dreamlike paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. Dali was also a skilled draftsman, writer, and filmmaker.
Dali’s most famous works include “The Persistence of Memory,” which features melting clocks, and “The Elephants,” which depicts elephants with impossibly long, spindly legs. He was also known for his eccentric behavior and flamboyant style.
Dali passed away on January 23, 1989, in Figueres, Spain, but his legacy lives on through his art.
When it comes to Spain and Salvador Dalí, there is an interesting “Dalí Triangle” formed by three museums related to Dalí on the map, which form an equilateral triangle route corresponding to Dalí’s birthplace, the Museu Dalí, and his spiritual hometown.
And that spiritual hometown, which Dalí called “the best place in the world,” is Cadaqués, a charming Mediterranean town.
Cadaqués as painted by Dalí at the age of 12
When he was 12 years old, Dalí first came to Cadaqués on a family trip and met his first mentor in art. After meeting his partner and muse Gala, the two of them lived here for 40 years.
In the blue sky and sea of Cadaqués, with white walls and red tiles, endless romance and tranquility, the madness and fantasy of Dalí’s surrealistic works were born.
Dalí’s surrealistic painting for Gala
“Galatea of the Spheres,” 1952
Dalí said he could not be separated from this place because it created his character, explored his love, created his works, built his home, and became the hometown that haunted him throughout his life.
Sometimes fate throws people into an environment, and sometimes people long for a hometown that they may not even know where it is located. Record these destinations with stories, and if you have the opportunity, revisit the spiritual hometowns of artists.
Also, for all the working artists out there, never forget to search for your own place of inner peace.