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Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 1999
"Dear Theo" should be mandatory reading for all students of fine art today, as no modern artist injected a level of passion into their work equal to that of Van Gogh in 1880 through 1890. This volume is a sort of highlight reel of Vincent's comments on his life and art to his beloved brother Theo. I recommend "The Complete Van Gogh" published by Taschen to accompany "Dear Theo", as there are no visual examples of Vincent's art aside from the cover included in this book. No one who appreciates fine art will be sorry to invest in either publication.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 1999
The book provides an excellent cross-section of letters painting a vivid picture of Van Gogh's life. It is not an all-in-one biography, though, in that Van Gogh makes references to work that only curators and art historians can picture. It would have been nice to have a black and white thumbnail of the finished paintings as Van Gogh wrote of them.
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on April 15, 2015
Probably the best Van Gogh book out there !
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
These letters speak the truth of van Gogh. This book opens a window of knowledge on a man so misunderstood to the world. At 14, I absolutely am in love with this book. "Dear Theo" has ignited a fire in my soul, a burning desire to study art and the men behind the works.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2001
Vincent Van Gogh was a great painter, but not a writer. So these letters are of interest in terms of history and painting. The life of Van Gogh is better exposed here than it would have been in a "real" autobiography, because Theo, his younger brother, was the only real friend Vincent ever had. He was his supporter, admirer and listener, and in fact Vincent had an emotional dependence on his brother. People interested in the process of artistic creation and creativity will find this book of enormous value and interest, since Van Gogh speaks a lot about that process in himself, one of the greatest painters of all time. But it is true, as one reviewer said, that these letters include, each and every one, eternal whining and begging from Vincent to his brother. He was, of course, always out of money and, as a genius really disconnected from the common world, unable to make a living by conventional activities. So he depended almost entirely on Theo. I would like to insist in that, although by no means a literary accomplishment, these letters are worth reading, since they expose naked the soul of a great artist and an extremely sensitive man, certainly a tortured and twisted soul.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 1997
Irving Stone introduced much of the world to Vincent Van Gogh through his superb bio/novel'Lust For Life'but here it's the artist himself that tells the moving,dramatic story that no fictive acount can touch.While Stone's editorial gifts are considerable the true star of this important compilation is of course the 'Author'.We discover within these pages a mind,a heart,and a soul that shine with an intensity rivaled only by the masters own glowing canvases.An artist who 'paints'with words as effectively as with a brush is a rarity.When Vincent describes an observed scene we feel as though we are there.When he begs,cajoles and pleads with brother Theo for more funds for'the work'we sense that it is the artists life itself that is at stake.While it's true that a modern day tragedy is revealed here even more so we can witness a courageous triumph of the spirit over adversity in the extreme. There are few human documents that speak so directly to one as this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 1998
A triumph of a book, a definitive and soulful look into the life and times of one of the greatest painters since the inception of cave painting. I could feel the Artiste's loneliness, his eccentricity, his passion for colours, his love for humanity and the innate tragedy of his unhappy life. A book which can occupy you for days after you have finished reading it. A prize buy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 1998
I read Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo shortly after I saw the Van Gogh exhibit in Washington, DC. The effect was overwhelming. So much pain. So much loneliness. So much genius! We all are the richer for his pain and his poverty!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 1999
It was so fascinating to see what what going through Vincent's mind when he was doing all of his painting. He was an amazing artist.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2000
here's your unadulterated chance to see just how screwed up van gogh was. letter after letter after letter sitting on the pity pot writing to his younger brother whining for money, crying for assistance, guilting his brother into supporting his art...his art habit...his art addiction. ya know, after reading this book my perspective on van gogh changed. he struck me as an ultra-martyr (in the icky sense of the word), so big into self-pity. now, having since read a little more of his history - screwy parents, etc. - i have some more compassion for the guy and for why he was so screwed up, but these letters are honestly nothing short of tedious. one after the other, whining for money, then waxing eloquent about his art, which actually struck me often as quite manipulative - like he was justifying his existence and his productivity to theo.
anyway, i still think van gogh is a wonderful artist, but what a messed up life - can't miss that from these letters. but god, i wish they'd been even more edited. and one other thing - irving stone (the editor) thinks van gogh is one of the world's greatest writers and philosophers of all times, in addition to being the honcho primo artist. well, as for philosopher, sorry irving, no. the guy was miserable and depressed and lonely, and seemed to philosophize in his letters to just keep contact with the world, but his philosophy gets under my skin.
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