The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

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Overview

"If ever there was any doubt that Van Gogh's letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellini's autobiography and Delacroix's journal, this excellent edition dispels it." 
—The Times (London)

"Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all."


Few artists' letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent Van Gogh's, and the selection included here, spanning the whole of his artistic career, sheds light on every facet of the life and work of this complex and tortured man. Engaging candidly and movingly with his religious struggles, his ill-fated search for love, his intense relationship with his brother Theo and his attacks of mental illness, the letters contradict the popular image of Van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead that he was capable of great emotional and spiritual depths. Above all, they stand as an intense personal narrative of artistic development and a unique account of the process of creation.
The letters are linked by explanatory biographical passages, revealing Van Gogh's inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140446746
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1998
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 78,273
Product dimensions: 5.05(w) x 7.77(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Holland. He became an assistant with an international firm of art-dealers and in 1881 he went to Brussels to study art. After an unsuccessful love affair with his cousin he returned to Holland and in 1885 he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, a haunting scene of domestic poverty. A year later his brother Theo, an art dealer, enabled him to study in Paris, where he met Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat, who became very important influences on his work.

In 1888 he left Paris for the Provençal landscape at Arles, the subject of many of his best works, including "Sunflowers" and "The Chair and the Pipe." It was here Van Gogh cut off his ear, in remorse for threatening Gauguin with a razor during a quarrel, and he was placed in an asylum for a year. On July 7, 1890 Van Gogh shot himself at the scene of his last painting, the foreboding "Cornfields with Flight of Birds," and he died two days later.

Ronald de Leeuw has been the director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam since 1986. He trained as an art historian at the universities of Los Angeles, California, and of Leiden, The Netherlands. As a specialist in nineteenth-century painting, he has been responsible for numerous exhibitions in The Netherlands and abroad, including the 1990 Vincent Van Gogh Centennial retrospective in Amsterdam. Since 1990 Ronald de Leeuw has also directed the Museum Mesdag in The Hague, known for its fine Barbizon and Hague School holdings. In 1994 he was appointed professor extraordinary in the history of collecting at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Arnold Pomerans was born in 1920 and was educated in South Africa. He emigrated to England in 1948, and from 1948 to 1955 taught physics in London. In 1955 he became a full-time translator and has had just under two hundred major works issued by leading British and US publishers. Among the authors translated by him are Louis de Broglie, Anne Frank, Sigmund Freud, George Grosz, Jan Huizinga, Jean Piaget and Jules Romain.

Table of Contents

The Letters of Vincent van GoghAbout This Edition
Translator's Note
Introduction
Biographical Outline

Early Letters
Ramsgate and Isleworth
Dordrecht
Amsterdam
The Borinage
Etten
The Hague
The Hague, Drenthe and Nuenen
From Nuenen to Antwerp
Paris
Arles
Saint-Rémy
Auvers-sur-Oise

Bibliography
Index

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The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
AilsaYY More than 1 year ago
This book is a perfect choice for who what to learn Van Gogh in depth. This book displayed Van Gogh's life in details. I really like the way this book edit. The editor not only put his letters in this book, but also interpreted with his own analysis, which makes a lot of sense. The way that the book arrange these letters are conformed with Van Gogh's life in different places. The editor display Van Gogh's life experience before or at the end of a bunch of letters. This is very elaborate because it helps me understand Van Gogh's state of mind when he wrote these, and makes me feel closer and closer toward him. I also love the way the editor analyze. There are some quotes that the editor cited when he analyze. For example, : “The storm may come the night may fall, but which is worse, the danger or the fear of danger? I would sooner have the reality, the danger itself”. Van Gogh had a short life but long story. In my personal understanding, his mental world was full of struggle and chaos, which made him one of the most famous artists. Although this book seems thick, but it is not boring at all. I was attracted by this book and I will definitely reread this book.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh is an incredible book with an abundance of information on Vincent's personal life. It goes into extreme detail about how Vincent is tragically rejected on multiple occasions by women and how he had the worst luck at love. Vincent specifically fell in love with women who were more vulnerable such as prostitutes and etc. The book even discusses about how Vincent was in love with the Church and desired to become a preacher. However, the church rejected him due to how rowdy he was and how into his preaching he became. This was actually due to his mental issues which is very openly discussed. Vincent Van Gogh actually went through a lot with his mental issues. Vincent suffered through various and different types of manic episodes. It is said that his episodes and depression influenced many of his artworks. When Vincent was in an asylum he actually created Starry Night which he thought was a failure and is ironically now one of many of his famous paintings. The book itself is an amazing journey of an artist who was ahead of his time and I would recommend this book to anyone!
Anonymous 10 months ago
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh is an incredible book with an abundance of information on Vincent's personal life. It goes into extreme detail about how Vincent is tragically rejected on multiple occasions by women and how he had the worst luck at love. Vincent specifically fell in love with women who were more vulnerable such as prostitutes and etc. The book even discusses about how Vincent was in love with the Church and desired to become a preacher. However, the church rejected him due to how rowdy he was and how into his preaching he became. This was actually due to his mental issues which is very openly discussed. Vincent Van Gogh actually went through a lot with his mental issues. Vincent suffered through various and different types of manic episodes. It is said that his episodes and depression influenced many of his artworks. When Vincent was in an asylum he actually created Starry Night which he thought was a failure and is ironically now one of many of his famous paintings. The book itself is an amazing journey of an artist who was ahead of his time and I would recommend this book to anyone!