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A six-volume, slipcased set and a major publishing event: Van Gogh’s letters in their unexpurgated form, newly translated, with explanatory notes, and featuring more than 2,000 works of art to which the artist refers in his letters.
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.
This edition is an immense treasure trove of biographical and art-historical information. The culmination of fifteen years of new research and superseding all previous editions in its ambition and up-to-date scholarship, it provides a lasting pleasure as a personal testimony to a life consecrated to art.Over 4,300 illustrationsNew transcriptions of every known letter to or from Van GoghThe complete collection: this edition includes all the letters, both in the Van Gogh Museum and those in other museums, archives and private collectionsNew translations render Van Gogh’s words more closely than ever before – unadorned, unimproved, faithful and accurateVan Gogh's sketches, made throughout the letters, are reproduced here at full sizeNew material: previously unknown letters and fragments of letters are published in English here for the first timeNew scholarship: fifteen years of new research have added to scholars’ understanding of Van Gogh’s life and work. Extensive research has been carried out to identify every work of art mentioned, whether produced by Van Gogh or by other artists.Authoritative editing: many omissions and misreadings in previous editions have now been corrected. For the first time the letters are fully annotated.Supplementary texts add information about Van Gogh’s life, his family, his correspondents, his characteristics as a letter-writer and the context in which the letters were written. Also includes a comprehensive list of materials discussed in the letters, a chronology of his life and a full indexExemplary design: the typography and design is by Wim Crouwel, one of Holland’s most accomplished book designers of the last fifty years
This is the most complete edition of Van Gogh'e letters 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 are 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.
In over 900 letters we see 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.
Includes a CD with complete text versions in French and Dutch
The Hague, letters 194–384
Van Gogh takes lessons from the painter Anton Mauve in The Hague, but these end when he sets up home with a pregnant former prostitute, Sien Hoornik, who becomes his regular model. Van Gogh spends several weeks in hospital being treated for venereal disease. He then embarks on a period of relative calm and more intent focus on his art.
Drenthe – Paris, letters 385–576
Van Gogh breaks off his relationship with Sien and moves to the countryside in Drenthe. He soon becomes lonely and despondent. He returns to his parents’ house in Nuenen for two years. He reads widely and continues to draw and paint. After his father’s death, he leaves home again. Van Gogh enrolls at the Antwerp art academy, but leaves after two months for Paris. While living in Paris with his brother Theo, Van Gogh meets fellow artists Gauguin, Pissarro, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bernard and Signac. The impact on his art is powerfully felt.
Arles, letters 577–771
After two years of bohemian living in the city, Van Gogh travels to Arles in Provence, in search of light, peace and – most importantly – colour. He persuades Gauguin to join him. After increasing evidence of mental instability, including the infamous ear-cutting episode, Van Gogh is admitted to hospital.
Saint-Rémy – Auvers-sur-Oise, letters 772–902
Van Gogh decides to commit himself to an asylum in nearby Saint-Rémy. Despite a troubled year – spells of mental illness alternating with extremely productive painting sessions – he sends dozens of paintings to Theo in Paris. After further breakdowns, Van Gogh visits a doctor recommended to him by Camille Pissarro in
Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris. Having produced an astonishing number of landscapes and portraits there, and believing himself better, Van Gogh suffers a mental relapse and shoots himself in the chest. He dies two days later, with Theo at his bedside.
Twenty-five documents have been designated as ‘related manuscripts’, for consideration with the main corpus of Van Gogh's correspondence. They comprise unfinished, crossed out, incomplete or unsent letters, or fragments of letters. They consist of a number of loose pages, each of which probably once formed part of a letter but which cannot be placed with any certainty.
Van Gogh’s letters: their background and history
The altered composition of the letters
Chronology and family tree
Glossary of materials and techniques
List of works
Maps, concordances and index