The Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van GoghA new selection of post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Goughs letters, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh put a human face on one of the most haunting figures in modern Western culture. In this Penguin Classics edition, the letters are selected and edited by Ronald de Leeuw, and translated by Arnold Pomerans in Penguin Classics.
Few artists letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent van Goghs, and this selection, spanning 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 attacks of mental illness and his relation with his brother Theo, the letters contradict the popular myth of van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead a man 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 Goghs inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition also includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.
Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Holland. In 1885 he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, a haunting scene of domestic poverty. A year later he began studying 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 Provencal landscape at Arles, the subject of many of his best works, including Sunflowers.
If you enjoyed The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, you might also like 100 Artists Manifestos, available in Penguin Modern Classics.
If there was ever any doubt that Van Goghs letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellinis autobiography and Delacroixs journal, this excellent new edition dispels it
VINCENT VAN GOGH - suicidal quotes by - VAN GOGH -
Vincent van Gogh Writes a Letter on the Three Stages of Love
Paris, Wednesday, 19 March Your paintings are well placed and look very well. Many people came up to ask me to give you their compliments. Gauguin said that your paintings are the key to the exhibition. He suggests an exchange of one of his canvases for the one of the Alpilles. I also like it very much, that painting, and it looks admirably well in the exhibition.
To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Tuesday, 16 October 1888.
Born years ago today, the troubled artist continues to captivate gallery-goers around the world. Van Gogh himself lived a turbulent and itinerant life, roaming the Low Countries and the meadows of southern France with an easel strapped to his back and that ever-present pipe clamped between his peeling, sunburnt lips and loose teeth, a red-headed stranger on a mission to document the manmade hardships and God-given splendour of rural existence. They reveal a huge compassion for their subjects, the period exemplified by the ruddy vitality of The Potato Eaters dining together by lamplight. A living embodiment of the tortured artist archetype, Van Gogh was known for his irascible temper and restlessness and famously severed a sliver of his own ear with a cutthroat razor in the midst of a manic depressive episode in Arles, Provence. He spent time in a number of psychiatric institutions, notably at Saint-Remy where he painted his fellow inmates, before finally losing faith in the hope that he might ever be cured of the madness and despair that hounded him and taking his own life. Despite being just 37 when he fatally shot himself in the chest in a wheat field outside of Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris, Van Gogh left behind more than 1, paintings and sketches — an astounding body of work — and remains a figure of enormous fascination.