Vincent van gogh letters to theo

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vincent van gogh letters to theo

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh

A new selection of post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Goughs letters, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh put a human face on one of the most haunting figures in modern Western culture. In this Penguin Classics edition, the letters are selected and edited by Ronald de Leeuw, and translated by Arnold Pomerans in Penguin Classics.

Few artists letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent van Goghs, and this selection, spanning his artistic career, sheds light on every facet of the life and work of this complex and tortured man. Engaging candidly and movingly with his religious struggles, his ill-fated search for love, his attacks of mental illness and his relation with his brother Theo, the letters contradict the popular myth of van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead a man of great emotional and spiritual depths. Above all, they stand as an intense personal narrative of artistic development and a unique account of the process of creation.

The letters are linked by explanatory biographical passages, revealing van Goghs inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition also includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Holland. In 1885 he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, a haunting scene of domestic poverty. A year later he began studying in Paris, where he met Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat, who became very important influences on his work. In 1888 he left Paris for the Provencal landscape at Arles, the subject of many of his best works, including Sunflowers.

If you enjoyed The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, you might also like 100 Artists Manifestos, available in Penguin Modern Classics.

If there was ever any doubt that Van Goghs letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellinis autobiography and Delacroixs journal, this excellent new edition dispels it
The Times
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Published 05.12.2018

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Vincent van Gogh

Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh with 12 sketches

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh refers to a collection of surviving letters written or received 83 by Vincent van Gogh. Vincent's sister-in-law and wife to his brother Theo, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger , spent many years after her husband's death in compiling the letters, which were first published in Arnold Pomerans , editor of a selection of the letters, wrote that Theo "was the kind of man who saved even the smallest scrap of paper", and it is to this trait that the public owes the letters from Vincent. By contrast Vincent infrequently kept letters sent him and just 84 have survived, of which 39 were from Theo. Indeed, the only period where the public is relatively uninformed is the Parisian period when they shared an apartment and had no need to correspond. The letters effectively play much the same role in shedding light on the art of the period as those between the de Goncourt brothers did for literature. Joanna began the task of completing the collection, which was published in full in January

Long before Vincent van Gogh March 30, —July 29, became a creative legend and attained such mastery of art that he explained nature better than science , he confronted the same existential challenge many young people and aspiring artists face as they set out to find their purpose and do what they love — something that often requires the discomfiting uncertainty of deviating from the beaten path. In January of , twenty-six-year-old Van Gogh, who had dropped out of high school, was given a six-month appointment as a preacher in a small village — a job that consisted of giving Bible readings, teaching schoolchildren, and caring for the sick and poor. He devoted himself wholeheartedly to the task and, in solidarity with the poor, gave away all of his possessions to live in a tiny hut, where he slept on the ground. But his commitment backfired — the church committee that had hired him saw this as extravagant posturing of humility and fired him. In August, Van Gogh moved to a nearby village and took up drawing and writing — which he had been doing recreationally for years, for his own pleasure — as a more serious endeavor. Vincent was the eldest of six children, which only compounded the expectations.

In short, looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination. Source status: Original manuscript. Location: Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. Date: In his last letter of Monday, 15 October Van Gogh was still recovering from the exhaustion brought on by the work of the previous week ; in the present letter he reports that he has started work again. He wrote to Gauguin that he had had two and a half days of rest letter He had done his last painting on Saturday, 13 October letter , so he must in any event have rested on Sunday, 14 and Monday, 15 October. On these grounds we have dated the present letter Tuesday, 16 October

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I am writing to you rather reluctantly because, for a good many reasons, I have kept silent for such a long time. To some extent you have become a stranger to me, and I to you perhaps more than you think. It is probably better for us not to go on like that. It is probable that I would not have written to you even now, were it not that I feel obliged, compelled, to do so - because, be it noted, you yourself have compelled me to. I heard in Etten that you had sent 50 francs for me. Well, I have accepted them. With reluctance, of course, with a feeling of some despondency, of course, but I have reached a sort of impasse, am in trouble, what else can I do?

In a letter to his brother Theo, dated Thursday, 3 November , found in Ever Yours: The Essential Letters , Vincent van Gogh describes an unreciprocated love and in so doing alludes to three stages of love. And — I said these words to her. But when I told her this, she replied that her past and her future were all one to her and so she could never return my feelings. Then I was in an awful dilemma about what to do, to resign myself to that no, nay, never, or — not yet to regard the matter as over and done with, and to take courage and not give up yet. I chose the latter. I said that now the situation is becoming somewhat clearer.

Born years ago today, the troubled artist continues to captivate gallery-goers around the world. Van Gogh himself lived a turbulent and itinerant life, roaming the Low Countries and the meadows of southern France with an easel strapped to his back and that ever-present pipe clamped between his peeling, sunburnt lips and loose teeth, a red-headed stranger on a mission to document the manmade hardships and God-given splendour of rural existence. They reveal a huge compassion for their subjects, the period exemplified by the ruddy vitality of The Potato Eaters dining together by lamplight. A living embodiment of the tortured artist archetype, Van Gogh was known for his irascible temper and restlessness and famously severed a sliver of his own ear with a cutthroat razor in the midst of a manic depressive episode in Arles, Provence. He spent time in a number of psychiatric institutions, notably at Saint-Remy where he painted his fellow inmates, before finally losing faith in the hope that he might ever be cured of the madness and despair that hounded him and taking his own life. Despite being just 37 when he fatally shot himself in the chest in a wheat field outside of Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris, Van Gogh left behind more than 1, paintings and sketches — an astounding body of work — and remains a figure of enormous fascination. Perhaps the greatest clue to his peculiar character is revealed through the letters he sent to his devoted younger brother Theo , who supported Vincent financially and emotionally throughout his life and steered him towards painting following false starts in England and as a Protestant missionary to the coalminers of Borinage in Belgium.

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