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Van Gogh: The Life Paperback – Dec 4 2012

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Van Gogh: The Life + Penguin Classics Letters Of Vincent Van Gogh
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Dec 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375758976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375758973
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.1 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The definitive biography for decades to come.”—Leo Jansen, curator, the Van Gogh Museum, and co-editor of Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Letters

“In their magisterial new biography, Van Gogh: The Life, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith provide a guided tour through the personal world and work of that Dutch painter, shining a bright light on the evolution of his art. . . . What [the authors] capture so powerfully is Van Gogh’s extraordinary will to learn, to persevere against the odds.”Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Captivating . . . Winners of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for their biography of Jackson Pollock, [Naifeh and Smith] bring a booming authorial voice and boundless ingenuity to the task and have written a thoroughly engaging account of the Dutch painter. Drawing on Van Gogh’s almost uniquely rich correspondence . . . the authors vividly reconstruct the intertwined stories of his life and his art, portraying him as a ‘victim of his own fanatic heart.’ . . . Their fine book has the potential not only to reinvigorate the broad base of popular interest that Van Gogh already enjoys but to introduce a whole new generation to one of art history’s most remarkable creative spirits.”Jonathan Lopez, The Wall Street Journal

“Could very well be the definitive biography . . . In it we get a much fuller view of Van Gogh, owing to the decade Naifeh and Smith spent on research to create this scholarly and spellbinding work. . . . How pleased we should be that [these authors] have rendered so exquisitely and respectfully Van Gogh’s short, intense, and wholly interesting life.”—Roberta Silman, The Boston Globe
“This generation’s definitive portrait of the great Dutch post-Impressionist . . . [The authors’] most important achievement is to produce a reckoning with Van Gogh’s occasional ‘madness’ that doesn’t lose sight of the lucidity and intelligence—the profound sanity—of his art.”—Richard Lacayo, Time
Brilliant . . . Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith are the big-game hunters of modern art history. . . . [Van Gogh] rushes along on a tide of research. . . . At once a model of scholarship and an emotive, pacy chunk of hagiography.”—Martin Herbert, The Daily Telegraph (London)

About the Author

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith are graduates of Harvard Law School. Mr. Naifeh, who has written for art periodicals and has lectured at numerous museums including the National Gallery of Art, studied art history at Princeton and did his graduate work at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. Together they have written many books on art and other subjects, including four New York Times bestsellers. Their biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also inspired the Academy Award–winning 2000 film Pollock starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as well as John Updike’s novel, Seek My Face. Naifeh and Smith have been profiled in The New Yorker, The New York Times, USA Today, and People, and have appeared on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, and the Today show.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen of Troy on Feb. 11 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book. It is big but I read every page. When Vincent died, I felt like I had lost a member of my family. I've finished the book. My days with Vincent are over. I will miss him!
Congratulations to the authors. I will be reading Pollock!
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Format: Paperback
RELENTLESSLY HARSH AND JUDGEMENTAL. So loaded with self-righteous censure you’d think it had been written by a Calvinist preacher from the 1700s. If you’d never seen any of van Gogh’s work you’d come to believe, based on the authors' portrait, that van Gogh never progressed beyond clumsy ineptitude, or that even when he eventually rose to their standard, van Gogh was such a terrible human he was deserving of all the scorn he received from his contemporaries. Every single page of the book drips with contempt and sanctimonious disapproval of van Gogh’s work, ideas and lifestyle. Why did they bother? Would never recommend this book to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must if you care a little bit about Vincent Van Gogh. Not only it's almost exhaustively researched, using all the possible available sources (and the best, those from the Van Gogh Museum, original letters and such) but it's also a great, dramatic and full of surprises and novelties (which is an exceptionally feat, considering how much it was written on Vincent's life and work). If you want only one book in your library about Van Gogh, this is the one. (they don't pay me to advertise them). Especially the very detailed and precise fact narrating (in a pleasant, interesting and not too" scientifical" and " intellectualist" manner) of his more unknown periods (the first ones, Borinage, Drentha, etc), his relations with the parents, the father and mother (but allowing also for their side of the story to be seen: Vincent could be a pain in the arse, sometimes and his mental sickness is apparent a lot sooner than it's usually covened; I would say Borderline Personality Disorder combined with epilepsy, but that hazardous...Most interesting part, the so called "suicide" of Vincent, which the authors prove convincingly that, maybe, almost certainly, wasn't one. More like a stupid prank accident which Vincent assumed the consequances. He would have done it anyway, sooner or later...A great, great book...
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