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Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
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Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  48,253 Ratings  ·  237 Reviews
Most unusually among major painters, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) was also an accomplished writer. His letters provide both a unique self-portrait and a vivid picture of the contemporary cultural scene. Van Gogh emerges as a complex but captivating personality, struggling with utter integrity to fulfil his artistic destiny. This major new edition, which is based on an entire ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Touchstone Books (first published 1914)
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In my youth I felt saturated with Van Gogh’s art. Its popularity made it predictable. As one of the greatest victims of the phenomenon that Walter Benjamin explores in his The work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, one could expect to see posters of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or his Room, or Starry Night, in a third of the rooms of students. I suspected that more than this bright colours, always welcome in dingy lodgings, it was the legend grown out of the morbid aspect o
Luís C.
"[His letters] enable us to know more about Van Gogh's life and mentality than we do of any other artist. The letters form a running commentary on his work, and a human document without parallel."

Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to be careful in writing this review because I want to do what I can to urge you to put this book in your list of Books I Should Read During my Lifetime. You have such a list, don't you? No? Will you think about making one? It consists of the books that a large majority of your fellow humans believe are representative of what is most significant about this gift you have received, which we call life. Lots of the books that should go on that list are not necessarily ones you would pick from ...more
Ammara Abid
This book is exceptional, thought-provoking, painstakingly beautiful and soulful. Not only literary letters but they encompassed whole life of a genius artist.
I absolutely love this book ♡
It's worth reading.

"What I find such a pleasant surprise about painting is that you can, with the same effect you put into a drawing, take something home with you that conveys the impression much better and is much more pleasing to look at. And at the same time more accurate, too. In a word, it is more rewardin
May 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Hughes writes in one of his essays on Van Gogh that the myth's around Van Gogh run exactly opposite to the truth. He recommends delving into Van Gogh's letters as a way to get beyond the myths and better understand both the artist and his work. Van Gogh is often given an aura of a mad genius, whose hallucinations and fits gave rise to the intense colors and patterning of his paintings and drawings. In fact, his fits (most likely due to epilepsy) were debilitating, and often kept him out o ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, letter, art
تئوی عزیزم!احساس زیبایی طبیعت،حتی احساس ظرافت ونکته های آن، با احساس عقیده وایمان فرق دارد، اگرچه به نظر من بین آن دو،رابطه ی نزدیکی موجود است.(احساس ما نسبت به هنرنیزهمین است.)درهرحال زیاد هم پایبند این موضوع نباش.هرکس طبیعت را یک نوع احساس می کند ولی کمتر کسی است که بتواند خدا را احساس کند،خدایی که باروح ما پیوستگی دارد.هرآن کس که دربرابرخدا سجده کند،باید برابرروح وحقیقت نیزسرتعظیم فرودآورد.
M. Sarki
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-wonders
I first began my reading of these letters as a way to learn more about the art process, the way to creation coming from the mind of such a gifted artist such as Vincent Van Gogh. I also was interested in his life, his story, and how he got to this end. Personal letters seem to be so much more profitable to me as a reader than fiction, or even a biography. Throughout the entire book I came to feel, and inhabit, his struggle, his pain, his lack of recognition for what he deemed so important in tot ...more
Gregory Hunt
Reading Van Gogh's letters is rewarding to any artist who's interested in the creative process. As a musician, I found these letters inspiring in parts. Be warned, most of what you'll read is about money, painting supplies, and what he happened to be working on at the moment and when he expected to finish, but he will occasionally talk about his philosophies on art and his personal thoughts and troubles. Make no mistake, he was indeed a tortured individual, but he was highly read and hyper-aware ...more
lauren kellie
"How much sadness there is in life. Still, it won't do to become depressed, one should turn to other things, and the right thing is work, but there are times when one can only find peace of mind in the realization: I, too, shall not be spared by unhappiness."
S.J. Pettersson
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worn-spines
I wasn't aware that Gauguin was at Vincent's bedside when he passed and when I read the letter G wrote describing what happened I began to cry so hard. Not out of sadness but out of love for his dignity, passions and unwavering commitment, both artistic, social and in hindsight, political, to the infinite possibilities of art of which he humble only considered himself a forbearer paving the way for more important artists to come who would truly be able to paint the essence of all people, not pos ...more
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
if i had to choose just 2 books on a desert island it would be the bible and van gogh's letters!
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Vec 10 minuta pokusavam da napisem neki rivju koji ce biti dovoljno dobar i dostojan ovog predivnog bica, koji je voleo ljude i prirodu sa retko vidjenom strascu, ali ne mogu. Osecao sam se prelepo i inspirisano. Osecao sam se...well, osetio sam sve, ono undefinable sve. Jeste da nema na srpskom, ali je treba svakako kupiti i nikad ne skidati s police, da bude vecni podsetnik da je nekad on hodao istim svetom kao i mi.
Tammy Marie Jacintho
I felt the full impact of Vincent’s loneliness, despair, and rebounding hopefulness. I felt the weight of what it means to be an artist, what it means to strive for your own voice, to know the strengths and weaknesses of your own hands.

I experienced, through Vincent, a true representation of monastic isolation. Vincent’s isolation allowed him to deepen his dialogue with his beneficiaries. And, his most steadfast Muse was Theo. Theo and God. In many ways they were interchangeable, as Vincent ido
Taymara Jagmohan
Quite pleasant.
I read the few lines concerning himself, and his most favored brother, Theo, but I couldn't muster the courage to read between the lines of his personal letters.
His letters weren't just conventional, but they were meant for his brother. Clearly if he had preferred for the entirety of the World to honorably view/read the letters, then he would have granted the dispensation.
I didn't like how his letters were just published. This is a man of secrecy. One with true talent, not just y
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm smitten. It is impossible to think "Van Gogh" without being aware of the well-known irony of his elevation to the very highest altars of ART (and commerce) after a life cut short by despair and scarcity. In this letters Van Gogh makes his case. Vehemently, honestly and without much embellishments beyond their raw directness, he appeals to his patient brother Theo often for money but even more often for understanding. And even though he might have been difficult and stubborn, he makes all kin ...more
Keith Michael
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommendations
so great. such a rare and impassioned human being, van gogh. he was one of the last virtuous men. i listened to don mclean's song "vincent" after i read this and cried undignified blubbery tears; "the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you! why vincent, why!"

Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can't do a thing’. The canvas ha
Francis Coco
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I house sat for a man I worked with while he was on vacation and as a thank you, he gave me a Cookie Jar with Van Gogh's Starry Night. At the time, I wasn't so crazy about Van Gogh because I felt his art was so commercialized - Starry Night seemed to be everywhere! But, a few years later I saw a Van Gogh piece in person and that changed everything. - - Brilliant. I just fell in love with Van Gogh. So, I read these letters and found them fascinating, even the mundane stuff about what supplie ...more
Aman Mittal
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 5-stars
Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.

I can't stop admiring his art work. Sometimes I just want to drown myself in them. Anyone familiar with the drawings and paintings Van Gogh produced will certainly observe that he just not created any beauty with his art work, but the beauty that would give people something to think about. During his short, intense life, one will discover that The Letters of Vincent van Gogh highlight many facets of his personality that are suggested by
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-culture, history
Van Gogh's letters are clearly the best way to know the artist, to understand his life, but not to get into his mind and understand his work. Throughout his life, van Gogh depended a lot on his brother Theo for financial support, and their letters are most of the time about lack of money. It's very interesting to read about the artists that he admired, and understand how he was influenced at first by Millet when he started painting peasants, potatoes, peasants and potatoes, and then by the frenc ...more
Chris Lugo
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is literally the best book describing the experience of being an artist that I have ever read. Not only was Van Gogh a profound and deeply symbolic painter, he was also an excellent writer who understood how to use words in the same fashion that he used paint in order to express his profound pathos and admiration of the natural world. A true artist is someone who not only observes the beauty of nature but also lives it within their experience. Van Gogh was an example of the artist as experi ...more
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Next to An American Master: De kooning, this is my favorite book about(by) an artist. There are so few actual written documents left from any artist, and van Gogh was as good a writer as he was a painter. His relationship and love for his brother Theo is amazing. He is one of the few master's we can really understand because of his beautiful correspondence with Theo. I have read these letters over and over.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is literally the best book describing the experience of an artist.What I enjoyed most about his letter are his humanity & joy for life.
Cristina Chițu
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do go on doing a lot of walking & keep up your love of nature, for that is the right way to understand art better & better. Painters understand nature & love her & teach us to see.

It is good to love as many things as one can, for therein lies true strength, and those who love much, do much and accomplish much, and whatever is done in love is done well.

And not being too troubled by our weaknesses, for even he who has none, has one weakness, namely that he has none, and anyone who
Oliver Kim
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Unique among modern artists, Van Gogh’s life story is better known than his paintings. Ask a person off the street about Monet at Giverny, or Gauguin in Tahiti, and you will likely get a blank stare. But most will have heard of Vincent Van Gogh, the crazy sunflower guy who cut off his ear. In our culture, Van Gogh has become a byword for Tortured Artist—so that, in the popular imagination, the romanticism of his brief life threatens to overshadow his art.

I confess that I had this romantic image
Sofi Mdivnishvili
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
,,უმეტესობის თვალში აბა, რას წარმოვადგენ? ნული ვარ მხოლოდ, ახირებული, უსიამოვნო ადამიანი, საზოგადოებაში რომ ვერც ახლა და ვერც მომავალში მდგომარეობას ვერ მოიპოვებს, ერთი სიტყვით - არარაობა, არარათა შორის არარა. რა გაეწყობა, ვთქვათ, ასეა ყველაფერი. მე მინდა, რომ ჩემი ნაშრომით ყველას ვაჩვენო, რა აქვს გულში ამ ახირებულ ადამიანს, ამ არარას!"
About This Edition
Translator's Note
Biographical Outline

--Early Letters
--Ramsgate and Isleworth
--The Borinage
--The Hague
--The Hague, Drenthe and Nuenen
--From Nuenen to Antwerp

Skyelis Tyler
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letters
inspiring and so life-affirming. stunning prose, too.
reading this was almost religious when, after a bout of angst and depression, chris loaned it to me as though it were medicine. it was.
i gotta give this (great edition) back to chris! gotta get my own copy!
this will become one of my little bibles.
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't tend to read biographies, because they usually study the people like subjects, like examples of historical pieces that just happened. I might find them enjoyable to read, but in the end, I always feel disappointed about not being able to know the people I've read so much about. So I tend to leave biographies unread.

But this was no ordinary biography.

For the first time, I felt I actually got to know the subject person on a personal level. I was not only reading descriptions of van Gogh's
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such visions of beauty always impress me thus: as indecipherable equations whose symbolic properties have grown so absurd, so abstract and unreal their significance has transcended all human comprehension. They leave me cold, lonely, scornful, an inhuman taste like lead in my mouth. All too often it seems we are eager to digest the popular ideals of the day – ideals such as Sex, Peace, God, Love, Money, Race, Country, Etc. It’s as if our human evolution has reached a state of advancement so far ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like everything about this book, only about half way I am reading this at the same time as the: The Mustard Seed and Aquinas Summa some how they all relate in very interesting way. Creativity in understanding or art runs along the same lines as a spiritual quest of life. All three authors display cogent concepts towards understanding and enjoying the hidden joys of life.

I am amazed at Van Gogh's writing eloquence, clarity of thought and ability to describe his art and other artists. However, w
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Goodreads Italia: Lettere - Vincent van Gogh 4 44 Oct 25, 2013 08:29AM  
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  • Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature
  • Rembrandt, 1606-1669: The Mystery of the Revealed Form
  • On Photography
  • Art Through the Ages
  • History of Art
  • Good Faeries/Bad Faeries
  • The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette
  • Drawing from Memory
  • The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales
  • The Lost Painting
  • Amphigorey (Amphigorey, #1)
  • Seven Days in the Art World
  • The King's Agent

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