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Dear Theo; The Autobiography Of Vincent Van Gogh

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  6,711 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Each night, Vincent van Gogh put pen to paper and poured out his heart through letters to his brother Theo. Van Gogh's letters lay bare his deepest feelings, as well as his everyday concerns and his views of the world of art.
Hardcover, 572 pages
Published by Cassell (first published 1937)
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William1
An extraordinary document! What other such inner view of a great artist's creative processes and life do we have like this one? We bear with him when he abandons an early attempt to enter the church, during which he becomes about as parable spewing and pious as any pastor one can imagine. Then as he turns away from his family--except for brother Theo, to whom these letters were addressed--and to the life of a solitary painter. We are with him as he studies under Anton Mauve at The Hague, as he l ...more
Yun Yi
I finished reading Irvine Stone's Lust for Life within one day like finishing a page turner, but I finished reading Dear Theo - letters of Van Gogh after a long time reading - each time I turned the page, I heard myself saying: slow down, take time, and digest every word slowly, as if the sooner I finished reading, the quicker the joy of being with him would vanish.

Van Gogh struck the world with his paintings, he also touched my heart with his words. If we take language as a vehicle of thoughts,
...more
S©aP
La sensibilità, non solo artistica; la coscienza dei propri limiti; le difficoltà economiche; le ombre della personalità; un'ingenuità genuina; e una caparbietà rara, da animale da tiro, contro tutto e tutti. Si passeggia con un senso di pudore dietro le quinte del genio, per trovare scintille.
Saana
It feels a bit strange that this book is finally over. It took me longer to read than most books and still I feel like the end came quite quickly. But then again, isn't that exactly the case with his life?

I read this book to learn more about van Gogh as a person and I must say that I was surprised. He wasn't what I expected him to be. If you have a somewhat mysterious or divine image of him, this book will probably crush it - in a good way. For me it meant putting an end to any sort of romantici
...more
S©aP
Avevo già letto e commentato (vedi libreria) una selezione delle lettere di Vincent, meno ampia di questa, costituita di soli scritti dedicati alla pittura. Qui, diversamente, le lettere scelte ci lasciano addentrare un po' di più nella psicologia del personaggio Vincent, nelle sue faticose relazioni familiari, nei segni che il pregiudizio ha inferto alla sua vita, nei dolori e nelle umiliazioni che patì, per il solo fatto di avere una sensibilità paradossale e un carattere ostinato. Ma anche un ...more
Melynda Yesenia
"Wait, perhaps you will see some day that I too am an artist, though I do not know beforehand what I can do; I hope I shall be able to make some drawings in which there is something human."


after i learned to treat this like reading someone else's mail, exactly what it is, i ended up enjoying having such a personal view of vincent's day-to-day. some of the passages about inspiration and how it is to be caught in a fury of creation and "become hopelessly absent-minded and incapable of heaps of ord
...more
Yakup  Öner
Farzedin ki; yürürken elinize çok eskimiş bir çuval geçti, içerisinde bir yığın mektup buldunuz. Bu mektuplar, içerisinde yaşamsal enerijiyi bütün çoşkunluğuyla yaşayıp tüm mağduriyetine boyun eğerek verdiği mücadeleyi yazan Vincent Van Gogh. Abinin kardeşi Theo'ya yazdığı mektupları bizde bir göz atma fırsatı buluyoruz. Mektupları incelediğimizde, cesaretiniz varsa eğer bir yola çıktığınızda ne kadar şeyden vazgeçebiliceğinizin bir listesini ortaya koymaktadır.Nasıl derseniz eğer efsanevi bir b ...more
Heather
Van Gogh was clearly not mad, rather he was articulate, well read, thoughtful (and perhaps a bit desperate). Heartbreaking at times since we all know how it ends
Michelle
Beautiful and heartbreaking. VVG thought deeply about the nature of art and its relation to life and labor. It's not quite an autobiography but a collection of letters to his brother Theo. VVG spent most of his life searching to find his way as an artist, thoroughly dependent on his art dealer brother, and unable to form lasting relationships (though he desperately craves them) with other artists and family members. At last, he begins to develop his stride over the last two years of his life, as ...more
Cherie
This is a hard book to rate or write about. It is a book of letters all, written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother, Theo. That is all. It is not a difficult read. It is exhusting. Van Gogh was a driven man. He was not easy and he was so single minded. It is hard to read his letters, but there are some wonderful passages, when he talks about colors and what he sees and how he feels.

He loved his brother Theo, and depended entirely on him for his income to live and paint. It was never a happy lif
...more
Bernardo Arcos Álvarez
Van Gogh, tristemente, nunca se consideró a sí mismo como un gran pintor, murió pensando que su nombre quedaría en el olvido, y que su vida había sido un fracaso total. Las correspondencia que tuvo con su hermano permite conocer, de su propia voz, su miseria y su genialidad: la forma en que administraba sus mendrugos de pan negro, y sus teorías acerca del color, de la pintura y de la vida; dejan entrever a un ser humano sufriente y sensible que lucha por mantener la cordura a medida que cambia p ...more
Smithers
Really not what I expected, but kind of fascinating nonetheless. I expected to be riveted by the emotionally charged ravings of a brilliant lunatic - mad love affairs provoking jealous rages and self-mutilation. Instead van Gogh for the most part appears to be an entirely different man than the stereotype of the "crazy starving artist."

The only thing that seems crazy about him is that he literally appears to have spent his every waking moment painting. He does not have any close emotional bonds
...more
Tamara
Apr 16, 2008 Tamara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tamara by: Diana
This is one of my Top Five All Time Favorites, in a permanent position. Vincent's letters reveal his tormented yet beautiful soul. If you love, admire, or just appreciate his art, you will learn to love, admire, and appreciate him as a writer, a Christian, and brother. This is one of the "old friends" I like to re-visit.
Sam

In this compilation of letters, you will get to go deeper into Theo and Vincent's relationship, as well as to get to know more about the lonely life of this famous painter and his mental illness. You will see that these two brothers were so close to each other,Theo never doubt and was a big support for Vincent, financially and morally speaking, he always was worried about his brother's health and offered him to stay in Paris with him and his family (multiple times) but of course, Vincent didn't
...more
Gozde
yaşadığı dönemi, içinde bulunduğu ruh halini en samimi şekilde okuyup anlayabileceğiniz bir kitap. yine de bu kadar yaratma isteği olan bir adamın intiharını anlamama yetmedi.
çok güzel adammış be !
Alicia
Letters from Van Gogh to his brother Theo. I learned much much more about his trouble life, a good read for me................
ara133photography
To say I love this book isn't strong enough - it's truly amazing to be able to read letters from Van Gogh.
Giulia Raniolo
Non c'è anima sulla terra che vive o è già vissuta con cui io mi senta più affine di Vincent Willem Van Gogh.
Mai rapporto fu più intimo, più affettuoso, più fraterno, più rispettoso, più simbiotico di quello fra Vincent e Theo, suo fratello.
Già basterebbe dire che Vincent morì nel 27 luglio 1890, forse suicida, e Theo lo seguì solo qualche mese dopo.
Inoltre vorrei citare un pezzo della mia lettera preferita, in cui Vincent descrive il suo amore cocente per la cugina Kee: «Chi non ha mai impara
...more
Sofia
Jan 08, 2015 Sofia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art lovers and everyone else
Recommended to Sofia by: Mi tía
Con este libro te llevás una mirada profunda a quién era Vincent Van Gogh, su vida y obra tan indivisible como dicen en la introducción. Te da una idea de sus diferentes períodos y cómo se relacionan con los lugares donde vivió.

En sus cartas Vincent menciona montones de artistas, cuadros o describe obras en las que él trabajaba en ese momento; mientras leía iba buscando todas estas cosas a las que hace referencia para expandir la experiencia. Me armé una linda carpeta de imágenes! Su mundo era
...more
Jane
Of course you have seen "Keep Calm and Carry On" relentlessly in popular culture. It has been parodied, changed and reworded for various purposes. That line was written in 1939 for Churchill for WWII posters that were never used. In the 1990s a small English bookstore found a box of them, framed one and found it was so popular that they began to reproduce and sell them. Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh wrote, in roughly 1881-1883, "Let us keep courage and grind on." I actually prefer Van Gogh' ...more
James Klagge
I have had my copy of this book for about 35 years, and was finally inspired to read it by visiting the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in March. The book is a heavily edited presentation of Vincent's letters to his brother Theo.
Vincent shows himself to be a driven, passionate, compassionate, sensitive, spiritual person. His drive to be an artist overwhelms almost everything else. The most common and recurrent theme is his requests for money from Theo, who supported him most all his life. Even whe
...more
LK Hunsaker

This has been sitting on my shelf for a few years now and I regret I didn't tackle it sooner. Although I'm an avid reader with a bent toward literary and historical fiction, I do mean "tackle" this book. Putting yourself inside a great artist's mind is not a task for the wary, or for those only looking for a good story.

Dear Theo depicts a passionate, yet resentful artist who turns away from his upper class raising and all of its prohibitions and embraces the common, which he finds not so common

...more
Kindell
Simply beautiful. The way he describes what he sees gives you a glimpse into how he composes his paintings. He views landscapes in patches of color and harmonies. It makes me want to view the world this way. Here is a random example of what I mean: "I am making a study of a red sun between the little birches on a marshy meadow, from which the white evening damp rises; beyond the meadow one can just discern at the horizon a bluish-grey line of trees with a few roofs."

This book is also very sad. V
...more
Mary-Beth
I don't know what to say about this book. It was painful for me to read. These are certain letters from Vincent Van Gogh to his brother, Theo. They do display what a difficult man Vincent seemed to be/ They also show his deep frustration with his inability to make money from his painting. It's also not easy to read the way Vincent continually begs for more money. Not just for the obvious reason that one empathizes with Theo for having to support him, but also because one can empathize with Vince ...more
Fer Silva
Vincent hace que sea muy fácil que te metas en su piel y veas la vida con sus ojos. Al leer sus cartas, te das cuenta de lo apasionado que era, de su afán por aprender y siempre mejorar, por conocer, por encontrar la manera de darle significado al cúmulo de emociones que se blandían en su interior, al igual que su tristeza, frustración y posterior deterioro mental y espiritual. Quizá la frase inicial expone de una manera muy simplista todo, pero es uno de esos libros que hacen que todo tenga sen ...more
Rebecca Rosenblum
I give up--I am not going to finish this book. This is the first time in several years I've abandoned a book partway, but god this one's impossible. For some reason, the editor has run all the letters together in one endless monologue, with no clear markers of the passage of time. And van Gogh, though brilliant and sometimes a rather excellent writer,*was* mentally unstable, desperate and desperately insecure, and he repeated himself and wrote in circles a lot. Nevermind that he was also writing ...more
Daniele
Fragilità e forza di un genio Il libro raccoglie tutte le lettere riguardanti la pittura che Van Gogh spedì a suo fretello Theo. Da questi testi traspare la fragilità e, al contempo, la forza del pittore nel descrivere ciò che l'arte rappresentava per lui, se Van Gogh ha sempre affascinato per la sua pittura, leggendo le sue lettere (tra l'altro stupende nella scrittura) lo si amerà ancora di più! Consigliatissimo!
Cherry
The concept of this book intrigued me- a diary style look into Van Gough's life. I expected to read more of his inner struggles and gain a better understanding of his mental health challenges beyond what the simplified version of his life we learn in our high school art classes. What I read of the book largely avoided this. This is probably due to 2 things. First, the letter writing style of the times; and 2. The fact that letters were either not written or not chosen for the book during his pe ...more
Soundara Pandian
Van Gogh was a Post-Impressionist painter who started creating Art work in his late twenties,and being a very famous artist, simply say he was a artist.

But this book is not about his works it consist of letters which he wrote to his brother Theo., when he was alone in Arles to attain the passion of painting. All his letters says numerous story about his life & love he has for his brother and the passion he has in the art and the obstacles he come across in the path of attaining it, full of
...more
Earl Baugh
A very insightful way to read about someone. Reading correspondences (though this is one-sided, just FROM Vincent...)
Still a great way to get inside his head. The original publication of this was ALL the letters (and apparently multiple volumes) but this does a good job capturing the spirit.
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What do you think? 2 9 Dec 08, 2013 11:52AM  
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Vincent Willem van Gogh, for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a cle ...more
More about Vincent van Gogh...
The Letters of Vincent van Gogh Van Gogh: Avenel Art Library Letters from Provence Van Gogh Portfolio Van Gogh in Arles

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“There was a sentence in your letter that struck me, “I wish I were far away from everything, I am the cause of all, and bring only sorrow to everybody, I alone have brought all this misery on myself and others.” These words struck me because that same feeling, just the same, not more nor less, is also on my conscience.” 30 likes
“We feel lonely now and then and long for friends and think we should be quite different and happier if we found a friend of whom we might say: “He is the one.” But you, too, will begin to learn that there is much self-deception behind this longing; if we yielded too much to it, it would lead us from the road.” 21 likes
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