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Vincent Van Gogh The Letters Six [Hardcover]

Leo Jansen , Hans Luijten , Nienke Bakker , L Jansen , Luijte


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Book Description

Oct. 13 2009 0500238650 978-0500238653 annotated edition
Vincent van Gogh's letters have long been prized as some of the most valuable documents in the world of art. Not only do they throw light on Van Gogh's own complex and intriguing character, they enlighten the whole creative process as seen through his eyes. Now Van Gogh's entire existing correspondence is to be published in the most complete edition ever produced, illustrated extensively throughout, and drawing on fifteen years of scholarship and dedicated research. For the first time, all the works to which Van Gogh refers will be shown alongside the letters not only the paintings and drawings that he himself was working on at the time, but also the works of art by others that he mentions. Sketches that Van Gogh made throughout the letters themselves are all reproduced here at full size. In over 900 letters we can observe Van Gogh's thoughts and opinions at first hand, as well as his close ties with his brother Theo, his sometimes troubled relationships with friends and fellow artists, his personal doubts and fears, and above all his overriding passion for his art. This edition is not only an immense treasure trove of biographical and art-historical information, it provides a lasting pleasure as a personal written testimony to a life consecrated to art.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2500 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson; annotated edition edition (Oct. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500238650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500238653
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 29.3 x 38.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 15 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A compelling chronicle of the artist s innermost thoughts . Art enthusiasts can ponder the deep words and complicated constructions of each and every letter, including van Gogh s final testament, which was found in his pocket the day he shot himself in the chest and consequently dies two days later . Beyond the aesthetic elegance of each handwritten letter lies the documented expression of one of the world s most loved artists. In van Gogh s world penmanship was a virtue, words were elocuted with care and sentences, skillfully structured. The Letters provide a unique glimpse into another era and another time. "

About the Author

Nienke Bakker is an academic researcher at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Leo Jansen is Curator of Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Hans Luijten is Curator of Research at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.


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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a modest genius Nov. 26 2009
By H. H. Verveer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I would like to point out, to begin with, that this review concerns the 2009 Dutch language edition, which appeared a few weeks earlier than the French and English ones. Van Gogh's letters have always drawn attention. Emile Bernard started publishing letters in France in 1893, Cassirer did the same in Germany 10 years later, first in a magazine, in 1906 also in book form. Three volumes of letters to his brother were published in book form in 1914 by Theo's widow, Jo van Gogh-Bonger. But the edition from which later ones descend, was published in Holland between 1952 and 1954. It contained some 650 letters, all of them published in the original language in which they were written, 6 in English, about 300 in French, and the rest in Dutch. In 1990 in Holland there was published a 4-volume Dutch language cloth edition, normal book size, in sunflower yellow of the collected letters of Vincent Van Gogh. The edition counted 2254 pages and 908 letters, with French and English letters translated. As far as I know these volumes have never been published in English or any other language. The edition showed all the sketches mentioned in the text. But although heavily annotated, many things mentioned in the letters remained obscure, while the chronology was sometimes dubious.
Now, in the beginning October 2009, has appeared, in Dutch, French and English a new 6 volume edition which contains 902 letters, 819 by Van Gogh himself, of which 658 to Theo, plus 25 so called documents, which consist of letters that remained unfinished, incomplete or were never sent. It has been estimated that about 290 letters written by Van Gogh are missing, and that he must have received another 550 that have been lost as well; which means that there must have existed a grand total of about 1750 letters, sent as well as received by him. The new edition publishes 819 letters written by Van Gogh himself, and 39 left of the many ones written by his brother Theo - all except two dating from the last two years - and by other artists, like Gauguin (16), in total 83. The large format edition is extensively annotated, printed on great looking paper, and shows literally everything mentioned in the letters itself, every painting, every sketch, every scribble, (always in full color if available), and that on the same pages as the letters themselves, which saves a lot of leafing. It explains every name mentioned. I bought the books in Amsterdam and had to carry home 15 slipcased kilos. Volume six contains no letters, but extensive essays on the translations, on the genealogy of the family Van Gogh, a list of correspondents, a 12 page biography, a 10 page chronology, a list of technical terms, a bibliography, and (very useful) 25 maps of places where Van Gogh lived or stayed. Finally there is a 20 page list of all the works by Van Gogh mentioned in the letters, a separate 20 page list of all the sketches, and a 36 page register of works by other artists (painters, writers, etc), and finally registers of places, and persons. The layout looks wonderful, and was made by Wim Crouwel, who is an excellent Dutch designer.
Some minor gripes? Yes. Like I said, Van Gogh wrote 6 of his letters in English, and more than 300 in French (which he started doing the minute he arrived in Paris in February 1886), and I was sorry to see that the originals had not been included in the Dutch language edition. The only other quibble I had is the rather cheap looking carton (paperboard) exterior of the books. For the price I paid (325 euros, after January 395 euros) I would have preferred linen.
Complete and expensive as it is, this may not be everyone's cup of tea, especially since the complete edition will be available for free on internet. Yet, for people interested in Van Gogh this edition is of course a must-have. Weird as he is now and then, a zealot and a preacher if ever there was one, irritating in his strong opinions, always trying to convert, and convince others of his personal ideas, and one who must in modern eyes have had something of a tramp, covering enormous distances on foot, and not being very particular about his personal hygiene, always craving for attention and admiration, but also utterly modest and heartwarmingly sympathetic, called to painting late in life, never satisfied with what he is doing, always telling Theo that his paintings are not yet finished, he is also a great writer, who without practically any schooling wrote a very vivid Dutch, fluent French and good English. Naïve and confused as he sometimes is, he can also be quite shrewd. It is my belief that Van Gogh's letters will always remain a fascinating artists biography, which are on a par with his paintings. And although he may, in time to come, lose something of the reputation as a painter he is enjoying now, I am convinced that the letters will always remain a great document humain, just like those of Flaubert, or Casanova's Memoires, albeit of course in a very different way. A lot of money, certainly, but well spent.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta Have It! April 27 2010
By D. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I followed the progress of this project on the Van Gogh Foundations website for many months and ordered it the minute the edition was available. This is not for casual reader of Vincent, but if you want to take your research and studies to the next level, you need this set. Its very expensive but worth every penny. I agree with the first reviewer about the slip case. Its very cheap and mine was damaged during shipping, but other than that, this set is a gem. I have been studying Van Gogh for many years and I have already learned a few new things about him and havent even made it through the first volume yet. I read a few letters a day and sometimes I forget he has been gone over a hundred years. Seems he is not to far away, sharing his thoughts with me... A true time machine.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Christmas gift I've ever received (from myself) Dec 7 2009
By H. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A spectacular production on every level: illustrations, text, translation, packaging, the whole nine yards, or should I say the whole 600 bucks. Like every truly great book, this is a time machine to another place and another mind. I see myself in 30 years, retired, poring over and over this book with a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog curled up beside me.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Van Gogh The letters May 2 2010
By Agha S. Saleem - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recieved this set of 6 volumes about 2 weeks ago.I have been attempting to read the first volume.It is an incredible set.I have been a fan of Van Gogh since I read Lust for Life when I was 20.Even after 29 years I am fascinated and teary-eyed about his passion for art.I started reading his letters to understand the turmoil and passion and thinking behind the artist who lived a very short time.I recently obtained Taschen's Van Gogh Complete paintings which is very complimentary to his letters.
The print of the Letters is small but the set is very complete.If you are interested in an intense study of an artist,this set is worth it's price.I have not reviewed the cd that comes with the set.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Comprehensive Series May 29 2012
By LovesManolos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Well worth the price, this is a very comprehensive, well-bound, beautifully printed and annotated series. Even the page layouts are impressive. These books come in a nice hardcover "case" for easy transport. Be warned: these are quite heavy so those of you with bad backs should not attempt to carry them all at once. A must have for any true Van Gogh lover. Ik hou van Gogh!

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