My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The 1928 journal begins here…

Vincent Price in 1929On the 5th of September 1928, a young 17-year-old Vincent Price arrived back in St Louis, Missouri following a two-month tour of Europe, where he got to lay his eyes of the classic masterpieces of the artists he so admired for the very first time, and explored the sights and the amazing nightlife of places like Monte Carlo and Paris with his fellow travelling companions. You can read all his adventures now from the start, by following the link below (or clicking on the photo).

My First Trip Abroad by Vincent Price | The adventure starts here…
My Trip Abroad by Vincent Price

Vincent Price on Holland, Rembrandt and scoring with a toothsome blonde

I Like What I Know (1959)In 1959, Vincent Price recounted his life-long passion for the art world in I Like What I Know. Here are some extracts from Price’s visual autobiography, in which a 48-year-old Vincent reflects back on his time in The Netherlands in July 1928…

ON HOLLAND
‘Holland was so damned quaint my feet began to hurt. The thought of wearing wooden shoes, even through fields of daffodils, gave me such psychosomatic corns I could hardly walk. And walk we had to… through endless villages and towns… seeing the sights. I understand the sea is a constant threat to Holland, but there were moments, then, when I wished that boy pulled his finger out of the dike.’

ON REMBRANDT
‘Amsterdam, however, was another thing. A city of canals and homey houses, clean and lean, lined up like neat children to admire their reflection in the polished streams. And there was Rembrandt. He was the first artist I had ever known personally – being the private owner of one of his etchings in its first state – so when we visited the Rijksmuseum, I lost myself from the rest of the tour to wander, stunned by these magnificently dramatic visions of mankind.’

‘There is in any collection of an artist’s work the sense that the painter himself is there, giving you a personally conducted tour of his pictures. But with Rembrandt he is really there in those superb self-portraits. I think the truth of the greatest proverb: ‘To know yourself’ must have appealed to Rembrandt more than to any other artist. There is absolute truth in Rembrandt’s approach to each of his sitters.’

‘In Apollo, the ‘Night Watch’ is the size of a special-delivery stamp; the ‘Anatomy Lesson’ is an airmail and the ‘Syndics’ has more people in it than a commemoration stamp. So, when I came upon these masterpieces in actuality, it was the size which brought me to a halt – the fact that people were life sized and lifelike, at the same time, was almost too much to take.’

Jan van HuysumON DUTCH INTERIORS
‘And here in the Rijksmuseum I entered for the first time the serenity of Dutch interiors, helped by the hands of Vermeer, de Hooch, and Terborch. I never did get to see a real Dutch interior, but I didn’t need to. Through these masters I was let inside, in the sunlight, in the gleaming miracle of light they alone could achieve. I touched the surfaces and smelled the flowers in these monuments to realities. I shared a dewdrop with the thirsty flies Jan van Huysum populates his flower bouquets with. I was startled for a moment by a daring dead-blue Christ of Hugo van der Goes but overcome by Rembrandt and Vermeer. I had no room to taste these Flemish masters of the early Renaissance, but I caught a glimpse of those red-eyed virgins, weeping at the spectacle of mankind crucified, that haunts me to this day.’

ON RUBENS AND THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES
‘Rubens remained an enigma. Those massive, livid mansions of crude flesh were too high a protein diet for my forming appetite. And even Hals, for all his virtuosity, his happy nature, and his presto style, escaped me then.’

‘I took on a toothsome blonde, the only contemporary appetizer on Tour 22, and determine to explore, firsthand, what Rubens had reveled in: the flesh! This girl, with a lovely, semi-southern accent, was the only one of the ten assorted ladies on our tour anywhere near my age, yet there was a decent difference in her favor and, I felt, in mine, for I hoped she’d lead me to the garden of delights and crown my young years with conquest. I tried hard, God knows, and she almost complied, but it would have to be a night in Nice, some weeks later, before my quest was satisfied. After all, a love of art is a fine thing for a young boy, but art is long – and life can be pretty damned long too, without our just desserts!’