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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh Paperback – Mar 1 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (March 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140446745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140446746
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 381 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #145,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Van Gogh was 37 and on the edge of fame when, in 1890, he shot and killed himself. Unable to sell his brilliant canvases, he was utterly dependent upon his younger brother, Theo, to whom most of the letters collected here are written. Anguished by loss of faith after planning to be a priest, disappointed in several once-promising love affairs, he was also so tormented by poverty that one of his artistic breakthroughs occurred when, without proper colors, he brushed in "a garden, green by nature, but painted without actual green, nothing but Prussian blue and chrome yellow." Whether van Gogh's suicide was the inevitable culmination of depression, or due to epilepsy or to professional frustration (he is remembered, beyond his pictures, for razoring off part of his ear), his letters reveal that the end was long contemplated. In 1878, he had written to Theo, "It must be good to die in the knowledge that one has done some truthful work." By the time he put a hole in his chest, he knew he had done that. The letters, edited by de Leeuw, the director of the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, echo the artist's passionate voice, and the connective narrative excerpts other letters that readers may regret not having in full. Integral to the letters are 49 pen-and-ink sketches that evidence van Gogh's development into a creative force. Although each letter possesses an inherent pathos because one knows what lies ahead, van Gogh's epistolary appeal goes beyond melodrama. Often inspired by books despite being a limner of peasant life and the land, he once wrote, "How beautiful Shakespeare is, who else is as mysterious as he is; his language and method are like a brush trembling with excitement and ecstasy."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, a village in Brabant on the Belgian border, the oldest son of Theodoras van Gogh and his amiable wife, Anna Cornelia Carbentus (their first child, also named Vincent, had been stillborn exactly one year earlier). Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By BeachReader on Nov. 2 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book several years ago in a college bookstore. How fortunate these students were to have been able to read and discuss this with others! I have had a long interest in Van Gogh and found this book to be fascinating, an almost voyeuristic look into his short life. I am glad to see that it is available * * and would hope that people now seeing the traveling Van Gogh portraiture exhibit might read it.
De Leeuw has compiled letters covering over 25 years of Van Gogh's life, letters that offer the reader an intimate look into the artist's thoughts and emotions. He writes about his friendships, his family, his attempts at love affairs, his religious beliefs and questions, and most importantly, about his art. These letters reveal him as anything but the anti-social person often portrayed in the past, with the ones about his relationship with his brother Theo being particularly touching.
Van Gogh was a prolific correspondent and an absolutely wonderful writer. His prose is remarkable--he could have been a writer as well as an artist. These letters shed light on the inner thoughts and the inspiration for his art and show him as a person of great passion and compassion.
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Format: Paperback
This is probably the most terrific book I have ever read in my whole life. Before I bought this book I couldn't believe how Van Gogh 's life was so joined to his brother Theo and , after reading this book ,I realized how important could be in your life the presence of such an important person as a brother that support your life's choise as an artist or any other thing which needs strong support and stubborness to be archived. This told,the book offer Van Gogh's mail to Theo disclosing the whole process of Van Gogh artistic development from the early years when he was spending his lonely life ,to his relationship with Sien ,to the days of the great hope (Antwerp,Paris), to the total ruin in Arles and Sain Remi' in south of France. All those letter ends with a greeting from Van Gogh which I consider unique and that I want to borrow for my own: With a hand-shake your faithful Luca.
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By A Customer on Jan. 27 1999
Format: Paperback
While Vincent van Gogh has always been one of my favorite artists, this compilation of his letters combined with a more in-depth study of his work has intensified my appreciation of him as both an artist and a person. I've always felt it was impossible to separate this particular artist from his work and reading his letters has led me to a better understanding of why this is. These letters beautifully capture his soul and spirit and reveal him as the caring, expressive and socially aware person that he was. The combination of strength of character and vulnerability expressed in these letters explain both the intensity and sensitivity of his work.
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Format: Paperback
...and bought the three volume set for myself. I'm 2/3 the way through the 1700 pages of the big boy and am completely enraptured by it. The writing is lucid and at times very lyrical and you really get a sense of the soul of the man here.

But this is about the Penguin Edition. I think for a person like my mother who is a painter as well it will give her some great insights into the rigor and discipline which is required of the artistic life. This book I think would be great reading for anyone that wants a window into the world that is Van Gogh...but once you have it I can almost guarantee you'll be eying that 3 volume set longingly.
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