They lived oceans apart in the later days of the 19th century, Earp the gunslinger, Van Gogh the psychedelic sower.
From a distance, they could be brothers. At the moment I'm feeling a bit too boringly sane to editorialize further, but we can track their smokey trails in these two eloquent documents.
Notes from American Experience - Wyatt Earp on PBS:
Wyatt is accused of stealing a horse in Van Buren, Arkansas. He evades punishment by fleeing... spends the next several years in saloons, gambling houses, and brothels of the frontier. He has multiple relationships with prostitutes, as well as several arrests for his involvement with them.
Wyatt Earp never lost the quiet charisma that had inspired loyalty and hatred in Tombstone.
He did not look old, a friend recalled. Somehow like a mountain or desert, he reduced you to size.
He died at home unsure of his legacy without ever making sense of the forces that had shaped his life.
Vincent - as usual connecting everything in his mental world - added Wagner to Monticelli, Delecroix, the Dutch painter Jongkind and himself in a list of crazy drunks and heavy smokers. These had all hit the bottle or lit their pipes, Vincent presumed, because of the mental exhaustion of devising complex harmonies of notes or colors.
That was no doubt what Vincent hoped to achieve with his painting: to find in art a force stronger than his neurotic temperament.
“Old Gauguin and I understand each other basically, and if we are a bit mad, what of it?” [said Vincent.] They would be vindicated - he thought, entirely correctly - by their pictures.
Vincent wasn’t only an inspired, mad artist; he was a great painter desperately trying to remain sane.