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Chapter 146 Part 2 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

Van Gogh walks towards me, taking out the letter to read.

He mutters to himself as he reads. Unable to read French, I have no choice but to stick close and listen attentively to his voice.

"Brother, I've received the letters and paintings you sent with much gratitude. Some of the paintings are truly outstanding. They're so vivid and fresh from the first impression. They look like landscapes freshly plowed from the fields. There's a tremendous energy in your paintings. I'm confident that one day this power will be recognized. As for my news, I've been busy preparing for Claude Monet's exhibition. Monet completed ten landscape paintings while staying in Antibes last spring. They are vibrant and full of life. With a firm handshake, your brother, Theo."

The famous letter from Theo.

The letters exchanged between the two brothers were even published as a book by Theo's wife.

Van Gogh neatly folds the letter, puts it back in the envelope, and takes out the enclosed money.

"Phew, I can pay the overdue rent now."

Van Gogh murmurs to himself as he counts his fingers.

"The overdue rent and food bills amount to about 90 francs... Just enough to pay everything off and buy some paint."

I watch Van Gogh and suddenly recall my own past.

I was the same. During my days as a street artist, I would count the day's earnings, calculate the rent and utilities, and after setting aside money to send to my mother, I'd spend almost all of it on paints and art supplies.

I followed him at a brisk pace, crossing farmlands and entering the village, arriving at a small, unimpressive hotel.

At the counter, which resembled a modern motel's, Van Gogh confidently approaches the half-bearded owner, waving the money.

"The rent has arrived."

"Oh, finally your brother sent the money, huh? Let's see, the total overdue rent and food bills come to 90 francs."

"Here it is. Now don't bother me for a while. I'm going up."

"Ah, wait a minute."

"What now?"

"You owe another 67 francs for the wine."

"What are you talking about? That seems wrong. Isn't the wine I had last time 40 francs? Why is it 67 francs?"

The hotel owner crosses his arms and glares at him.

"Didn't you complain about our house wine being bad and ask for a better one? Good wine costs more."

Van Gogh looks troubled, seemingly remembering.

"Ah, but if I pay that, I won't have any money left for paint. I can't paint without chrome yellow."

"Well, you shouldn't have complained about the wine in the first place."

"Just for that one time!"

"Anyway, you drank it, so you have to pay."

"This is blatant robbery! You never told me the wine I ordered was more expensive than the one I used to have!"

"Calm down. If you keep this up, I'll have no choice but to ask you to vacate the room."

"Fine! I should've left this dump earlier. Give me the key to my room so I can pack my things."

"Heh, and you think that solves everything? You can't get your belongings back until you've paid the full amount."

Van Gogh bursts out in anger.

"I'm being cheated because I'm a foreigner? I'm not a tourist here for a leisurely vacation in the hotel restaurant. I'm a hardworking painter, living off my work! If I knew I'd be exploited like this, I would've called the police already!"

Van Gogh turns around abruptly.

He leaves without paying for the wine and is unable to retrieve his belongings.

Van Gogh kicks the hotel door as he leaves. Where will he sleep tonight, and how will he get his belongings back?

And where is the enraged Van Gogh going now? Straight to the police station?

I follow him quietly, only to chuckle as I see him enter a store, still fuming.

“He came to buy paint amidst all this.”

A born artist. He came to buy paint with the remaining money his brother sent him, even in his rage.

Upon entering the paint shop, Van Gogh immediately shouts.

“Give me a tube of chrome yellow paint.”

The female clerk searches among the paints and then, with an apologetic face, says, “We're out of chrome yellow.”

“Good heavens!”

“We still have plenty of red.”

“Crazy! Chrome yellow and red aren't the same! What a bolt from the blue! Damn it! Damn it!!”

Van Gogh rages, clutching his head.

But he doesn’t resort to throwing or breaking things. After cursing in Dutch, he storms out of the shop.

Van Gogh kicks the ground and a pillar in his anger. He never uses his fists, no matter how mad he gets. Hands are crucial for an artist.

I smile at his antics.

‘Don’t worry. You only have to pay 12 francs, not 67.’

I know that, as per the decision of the French judicial magistrate, Van Gogh will only have to pay 12 francs to get his belongings back.

Life is a tragedy up close but a comedy from afar. That's exactly how I feel watching Van Gogh.

‘If someone were watching my life, would these tragedies I'm experiencing now seem like a comedy to them?’

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