French Town Needs Help Restoring Van Gogh's Grave

Renaud Camus via Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Renaud Camus via Flickr // CC BY 2.0 / Renaud Camus via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Vincent van Gogh died nearly 127 years ago—so naturally, his gravesite is beginning to show the ravages of time. To preserve the famous attraction, The Art Newspaper reports that local council members in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise and the Institut Van Gogh, a historical conservation nonprofit, are seeking donations to restore the artist’s final resting place.

The Post-Impressionist painter spent his last days in Auvers-sur-Oise—where he painted his now-famous wheat field landscapes—before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1890. Van Gogh was buried in the town’s cemetery, and his brother Theo was buried alongside when he died six month later.

Last spring, heavy rainfall damaged the siblings’ headstones. The Institut Van Gogh needs to raise €600,000 (nearly $650,000) to repair them, and to outfit the popular tourist attraction with proper drainage, lighting, and security systems. So far, the campaign has received donations from van Gogh’s family, museums, and art lovers, but they’re still more than $500,000 short of their goal, which they hope to reach by the end of July 2017.

In addition to van Gogh’s gravesite, the Institut Van Gogh is also raising funds to mend the village’s Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church. Featured in van Gogh’s 1890 painting The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise, the building was badly damaged during a storm in October 2015. So far, state and government agencies have collected about $60,000 to fix the church's roof (the local council even launched a crowdfunding campaign), but more funds are needed for the roof's repair, and to restore the church’s grounds.

You can help preserve van Gogh’s grave by visiting and making a donation.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]