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A 1:30 a.m. line... for Van Gogh

The works of Vincent Van Gogh are still a vibrant part of pop culture more than a hundred years after his death.

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"Lust for Life," a novelized version of Vincent van Gogh's life by Irving Stone written in 1934, was the basis of a 1956 movie starring Kirk Douglas. Tim Roth took on the artist role in Robert Altman's 1990 film "Vincent & Theo." Van Gogh was even the subject of a hit folk song in the 1970s, "Vincent," by Don McLean.

Van Gogh, an inventive, dedicated, and struggling painter in his lifetime, continues to be a pop culture phenomenon 123 years after his death. That much was clear recently at the Denver Art Museum, which kept a Van Gogh exhibition open for 40 hours straight during the last two days of the show to accommodate visitors.

Louis van Tilborgh, a senior researcher at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, says one source of the artist's enduring and broad appeal is simply his paintings, which continue to delight viewers with their bright colors, familiar landscapes, and thickly applied paint. Mr. Van Tilborgh says Van Gogh also connects across the generations through the lively and perceptive letters he wrote to his younger brother Theo, and others. Van Gogh's determination to achieve something in his life and his art despite his personal struggles resonates with many, he adds. "He tried so hard," Van Tilborgh says.

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