Vincent van Gogh: The Letters The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition

Nienke Bakker, Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten

Description

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 illustrations
  • New transcriptions of every known letter to or from Van Gogh
  • The complete collection: this edition includes all the letters, both in the Van Gogh Museum and those in other museums, archives and private collections
  • New translations render Van Gogh’s words more closely than ever before – unadorned, unimproved, faithful and accurate
  • Van Gogh’s sketches, made throughout the letters, are reproduced here at full size
  • New material: previously unknown letters and fragments of letters are published in English here for the first time
  • New 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 index
  • Exemplary 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.

Reviews

The most important art publication of 2009, if not of the decade.

— Financial Times

This could be the best autobiography of an artist yet to appear anywhere.

— The Economist

Has a depth that would not exist were this a collection of only images or only words. This could be the best autobiography of an artist yet to appear anywhere.

— The Economist

A massive work of scholarship as well as a visual delight.

— Sunday Telegraph [UK]

Twenty years worth of his letters, published in a spectacular illustrated six-volume edition are the longest, warmest, most attentive account of an artist’s life seen from the inside that has ever been.

— New Yorker

The greatest cache of writing about art left behind by any artist. Intense, relentless, gossipy, utterly fascinating.

— The Sunday Times [London]

With his words and visions united in all their blazing intensity, this momentous edition at last completes the palette of Vincent's double art.

— The Independent [UK]

It is certainly one of the best art books I’ve ever read and the only one I would truly say today, at this moment, is truly indispensable

— Modern Painters

With the publication of this monumental six-volume edition of his letters, Vincent van Gogh is fully revealed as a supreme writer-painter…. This collection is definitive.

— ARTnews

A richly annotated and illustrated six-volume compendium… Each letter is newly transcribed, painstakingly retranslated without adornment or amendment, and in some case redated in accordance with new research.

— The Wall Street Journal

A fabulous six-volume hardcover edition of the artist’s complete surviving correspondence…. They are like snapshots of his creative process, and they are all produced in the six volumes, along with family photographs, maps of the artist’s whereabouts from year to year, and reproductions of art, by himself and others, that he refers to in the letters…. Worth every penny and hard-to-lift pound.

— New York Times

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.

— Zink

Contributors

Nienke Bakker

Edited By

Nienke Bakker is Curator of Exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Leo Jansen

Edited By

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

Hans Luijten

Edited By

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