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Dear Theo

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  12,357 ratings  ·  313 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.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Plume Books (first published 1914)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,357 ratings  ·  313 reviews


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William2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary document! What other inner view of a great artist's creative processes and life do we have like this one? (The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini perhaps, but it is boastful precisely where Dear Theo is introspective, materialistic where Dear Theo is threadbare, highly social where Dear Theo is solitary.)

We bear with Vincent 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
...more
Yun Yi
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I finished reading Irvine Stone's Lust for Life within one day like finishing a page turner, but I spent long time to read Dear Theo - letters of Van Gogh - 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, Van Gogh deserved
...more
MihaElla
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's July, still. Just for a couple of days more. According to the official calendar today it's 29th July, 2018. I had to look into the phone app as I don't keep any paper calendar in my room [and I don't trust my harddisk on weekends] and going to the kitchen would have cost me changing my present comfortable writing position.
I was reading a letter dated July 1880. So, again with the precious help of the calculator app inside the phone, I am able to capture the time gap between my present and
...more
David Gustafson
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is probably not something for the casual art fans who have gathered a summary of van Gogh's life from various library collections of his works. In fact, the first four hundred pages can be a rather "more of the same" struggle for Vincent's loyal devotees even though he is an excellent writer.

Then, the unfortunate illness begins to take control and Vincent actually becomes a more likable human being. It is also worth noting that during this last year, even as he was shuttling between hospita
...more
Saana
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Dorcas
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This book is in serious need of a re-read. I read this when I was about thirteen, and aspiring to be an amazing artist. Vincent Van Gogh fascinated me. I never really loved his art (shhh) but the mad, passionate artist appealed to me. And can you get any madder, any more passionate than Vincent?

I also read this with much sympathy for Vincent's brother, Theo. What a long suffering, sweet person to stand by your side. Hero Theo.

I loved this book and Irving Stone's sister book, Lust For Life. Both
...more
Heather
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Federica
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an emotional journey inside the mind and soul of one of the artists -if not the artist- that, in my opinion, better expressed the whole world through their pantings. Not to mention that he is my favorite painter of all time.

I had always felt a strong connection with him toward his works, and now, while reading, I felt it again and even more. His letters to his beloved brother, trough the ups and downs of their relationship and of Vincent's life, show a sensitive, insecure man, aware of
...more
Melynda Yesenia
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-fiction
"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
Valerie
May 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Caitlin
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've spent several months with the letters of Vincent van Gogh. They have given me access to a mind that was passionate, sensitive, erudite, and, above all, brilliant. Van Gogh died two days after writing the final letter to his brother. "Dear Theo" is a moving collection of letters that reveals the depth of love, tenderness, and respect between two brothers. This edition isn't perfect. I'd like to have seen each letter dated. More context and biographical information would have been helpful. Ov ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
L'amour de l'art fait perdre l'amour vral (The love of art means the loss of real love). That quote fully summarizes the life of the genius Vincent Van Gough. His history as we know it is considered that of a great man. Unfortunately, like the many great men who lived and roamed the earth, his is just as tragic. By the time his works were publicly recognized he was dead for a long time. His life was characterized by continuous pressures and difficulties. For example,

Of Marriage he said "I feel t
...more
Svitani
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"Dear Theo" is a recopilation of cards that the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, written during his life in Arles, France, and all that he did was painting and reading books. The book collect a cards of his day to day life inside and outside the sanatorium where he was hospitalized, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence; first from a petition of his neighbors and later for his continued relapses and suicide attempts.

Vincent was a Dutch painter financed by his brother, Theo, who lived in Paris and paid all his materia
...more
Cherie
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Anima
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How not to love this collection of letters that allow us navigate slowly and delicately through the layers of impressive and ravishing beauty imprinted by Gogh on canvases and see the intimate structure of the wellspring of his artistic abilities?

"Try to take as many walks as you can and keep your love of nature, for that is the
true way to learn to understand art more and more. Painters understand nature
and love her and teach us to see her. Then there are painters who can only make
good things
...more
Tamara
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Carl Waluconis
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
Not only one of the most influential artists ever, but also in his letters to Theo, he is a philosopher and critic. I can't think of another relationship in the arts that is as important as the brothers Theo and Vincent. Theo kept him painting and preserved Vincent's visual as well as is literary work, there extraordinary letters. Their loving relationship was a source of inspirational Vincent writes: "Do you know what frees one from captivity? It is every deep serious affection. Being friends, ...more
Laurel Hicks
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had to read these letters slowly, because each brought a flood of color, art, and human emotions to my mind. Vincent was very well read, and he wrote almost as beautifully as he painted
Lino's Version
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dear Theo
The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh
Edited by Irving Stone
This is a good book to read…but it would be better if you have Vincent van Gogh (VG)’s art handy. So if you can read it when near a Google friendly device.

1995
Vii: there was one man on earth who understood Vincent, who encouraged him in his work, provided him with the supplies and the money necessary to continue his painting, who had an inexhaustible fund of love which, above all things, Vincent so desperately needed: his brothe
...more
Riia Ryymin
I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this. What an extraordinary service has this editor done to us and the world. I find myself quite speechless due to many things now.

This book has been a seemingly endless project of mine for two years and now it is time it came to an end. This two years' time with the reading has nothing to do with the book being bad: very much the opposite. I've just read it in episodes, read other things simultaneously and even forgotten about it for months and m
...more
Dawn
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got bored about 100 pages into this one. It was fun at first but became a chore. That's when I know it's time to move on.
Tiana
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do not read while drunk, you will cry.
Kindell
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Roxana
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book since the time I knew it exist, just recently I was able to buy it and finally read it. The letters Vincent Van Gogh to the only member of his family who didn't turn his back on him, his brother Théo. It is an interesting book, a way to learn more about a genius's mind and how it worked, how he saw colors and the world arround him. He actually saw the world like a motivation for a painting, decomposing it in colores and sensations.
Maybe the objection I have this book,
...more
ZaRi
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, letter, art
The Hague, 29 September 1872.

My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter, I was glad to hear that you got back safely. I missed you the first few days, and it was strange for me not to find you when I came home in the afternoon.
We spent some pleasant days together, and actually did go for some walks and see a thing or two whenever we had the chance.
What terrible weather, you must feel anxious on your walks to Oisterwijk. Yesterday there were trotting races on the occasion of the exhibition,2 but the ill
...more
Ty
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reviewing a book such as this presents with certain difficulties. To begin with, it is mostly a translation, so one must be certain it is a faithful one. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

Then, one must consider the format and the editing. This is, after all a collection of letters, never intended to be a book. No given letter can fairly be judged on the basis of "bookish" readability. That is simply not why they were composed. To that end, the content itself is virtually immune to negative
...more
Natalie Vien
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think that when you finish this book only right thought is "What a brilliant talanted and the cleverest person". With each page I thought - what the effect on people could have this letters. Letters, full of right ideas, powerful words and deep sorrow. Practically always we can hear that letters is something private and we mustn't read it, but Van Gogh created something absolutely amazing and inspiring, so I think that it won't be a criminal to fall in love with this masterpiece. If you love t ...more
Dolores Paredes
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a priceless treasure with the feelings of such a great artist...in every biography i know, only shows a superficial detail of anyone's life, but in these documents, Van Gogh show us how he feel through his difficult way to turn into a painter
Madeleine Puschautz
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vincent's true self portrait displayed through words to his dear brother, Theo. This is an extraordinary way to get to know Van Gogh and at least get a taste for the great sacrifice he made for his beloved art.
Alicia
Feb 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letters from Van Gogh to his brother Theo. I learned much much more about his trouble life, a good read for me................
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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
“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.” 75 likes
“How rich art is, if one can only remember what one has seen, one is never empty of thoughts or truly lonely, never alone.” 47 likes
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