I do not kiss the ladies I am interviewing – it isn’t skilled. However on one event I did one thing totally different. In 1988, I met Jane Clement, then 113 years outdated; He was the oldest individual on earth at the moment. That yr marked the centenary of Van Gogh’s arrival in Arles, and I used to be there to listen to her reminiscences.
On the finish of the interview I gave her a fast kiss on the cheek. It was a wierd feeling to be so near an older residing being and I guessed she wasn’t lengthy for this world, so it was a closing farewell. I wasn’t proper. As a result of she lived one other ten years.
Born in Arles in 1875, Jane was 13 when Van Gogh arrived within the metropolis. She instructed me she met the artist at her household’s upholstery store, the place he purchased canvases for his work.
Within the yr Her age was spent within the French paperwork, her medical doctors and Guinness World Data – And eventually it is going to be on the loss of life certificates. Right now, she is the one individual confirmed to have lived previous 119.
Within the yr Once I interviewed Madame Clement in 1988, her tales have been good. She instructed me that Vincent was an unpleasant man “extra considering consuming than portray”. The kids within the neighborhood have been loosely afraid of him, however they made enjoyable of him. “Many of the women have been afraid of him, however the prostitutes favored him as a result of he paid them effectively,” she stated. Vincent lastly went mad and “lower his ears off like cheese”.
These feedback weren’t very optimistic; However I look as much as them as a result of they’ve a direct connection between our time and Van Gogh. even thought Artwork newspaperType is to not use honorifics (like Mrs.), I at all times wish to name her Mrs. Calmen to indicate respect for her age.
In principle, the younger lady and the struggling artist may actually have met, as they lived in the identical metropolis for 15 months in 1888-89. It was additionally very convincing that Van Gogh patronized his household store for canvas.
Nevertheless, it’s arduous to imagine that Madame Clement would have had direct recollections of the artist in 1988, when she spoke of a serendipitous encounter 100 years in the past. It’s extra probably that her “reminiscences” arose a bit later, after Van Gogh’s rise to fame—maybe from individuals who knew the artist effectively in Arles.
However may Madame Calment herself be a fraud? A brand new self-published research by Russian researcher Nikolai Zak and British colleague Philip Gibbs disputes the existence of a daring identification swap. His e book, Jeanne Calment: The key of longevity has not been revealed They argue that the venerable lady who died in 1997 was Jane’s 99-year-old daughter, Yvonne, who was formally recorded as having died of tuberculosis in 1934. The identification of her mom.
Zack and Gibbs increase legitimate questions concerning the proof accepted by Guinness World Data, although they imagine that “there may be not a single piece of proof that gives the smoking gun.”
However it’s not clear why Yvonne started such a fancy deception in 1934. Essentially the most wonderful proof is that the lady who lived till 122 was really Jane Calment. That is nonetheless acknowledged by Guinness World Data and French authorities.
If Madame Clement had not been Yvonne and never Jane, she would have efficiently carried the bluff for 63 years. Furthermore, she herself needed to fake to be 99 years outdated. That is fairly an achievement: certainly few folks may have maintained such a fancy trick within the worldwide highlight virtually a century later.
I actually imagine that Madame Calment was born in 1875. Though she says she has no direct reminiscences of Van Gogh, she could have heard tales about him just a few years after he lower off his ear and left Arles. for asylum. For me, Madame Calment stays an incredible connection to Vincent’s time—and I cherish the reminiscences we shared.