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When is a Table Not Just a Table?

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If it happens to be the one Vincent Van Gogh dined on every day in backroom of Auberge Ravoux where he lived in the attic during the last months of his life. Tucked away in a village now a suburb of Paris, the museum dedicated to his memory has become a touchstone for over a century of fans who make their way to Auvers sur Oise. It is a precious historic item for the French, whose self image is steeped in the brilliance of contributions of artists.

We have talked about other special deliveries on the Citizenship blog, but this is the most artisitc.  On Monday, FedEx Express announced it had transported the world famous Van Gogh Table from the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, to the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, Switzerland, on July 16 to coincide with an exhibition of the artist’s work in the city.

At this table a special “menu Van Gogh” will be offered, inspired by the traditional dishes served at the Auberge Ravous since 1876.

Van Gogh dined at the table, eating dishes like Warm Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraiche and Dark Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Crème Anglaise, while staying at the Auberge Ravoux, known as the House of Van Gogh. During his few months at the small hotel in 1890, Van Gogh painted several important works, including At Eternity’s Gate.

As part of the most important European art event in 2009, the Kunstmuseum Basel is staging the first showing worldwide of the landscape paintings by the legendary artist Vincent van Gogh. Seventy paintings – both world-famous key works as well as paintings barely seen previously by the general public – will give a completely new insight into van Gogh’s body of work.

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For more on the cafe and the artist's last days there, check out the book Van Gogh's Table at the Auberge Ravoux: Recipes From the Artist's Last Home and Paintings of Cafe Life by Alexandra Leaf and Fred Leeman. It is a beautifully rendered cookbook/storybook. Used copies are available on amazon.

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