Title: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh. Selected ...
Publisher: Allen Lane, New York
Publication Date: 1996
Edition: First Printing of the First Edition.
A Fine tight unread copy in a Fine bright unclipped dust jacket. Besides being one of the most important modern painters, Van Gogh was also an accomplished and literate letter writer. Through his correspondence, he created an intimate self-portrait in words as well as commenting on the contemporary cultural scene, his painting colleagues, his religious foundation, his friendships and creative passions. This selection of Van Gogh's letters provides an intimate look at his most provocative thinking and intimate observations. Catalog Late Winter 09. Bookseller Inventory # 23595
Synopsis: The painter, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) was also an accomplished writer, and this collection of his letters provides both a self-portrait and a picture of the contemporary cultural scene. The book includes complete letters wherever possible, linked with passages of connecting narrative and showing all the pen-and-ink sketches that originally went with them. The familiar image of Van Gogh as an anti-social madman is questionned in this book as the letters show the humanitarian and religious causes he embraced, his fascination with the French revolution, his striving for God and for ethical ideals, his desperate courtship of his cousin and his unsuccessful search for love. Not only does this serve to demolish some of the myths about Van Gogh but it shows him as a human being, not just an artist. The letters also reveal Van Gogh's conflicts as a painter, torn between realism, symbolism and abstraction. He received little feedback from the public and wrote at length to his family and friends and above all, to his brother Theo, who was his confidant.
Review: This thorough collection of van Gogh's letters has been assembled with an artful eye and sensitivity to the artist's thinking. The result is an atypical take on Vincent van Gogh that avoids putting too much stress on his troubled mental state and too much straining by the editor to shape a narrative out of van Gogh's epistolary clues. Instead, we see the thoughtful and contemplative side of this creative genius, as well as his concern for the impact his art and life had on those people closest to him.
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