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"Vincent van Gogh was born near Brabant, the son of a minister. In 1869, he got a position at the art dealers, Goupil and Co. in The Hague, through his uncle, and worked with them until he was dismissed from the London office in 1873. He worked as a schoolmaster in England (1876), before training for the ministry at Amsterdam University (1877). After he failed to get a post in the Church, he went to live as an independent missionary among the Borinage miners.
"He was largely self-taught as an artist, although he received help from his cousin, Mauve. His first works were heavily painted, mud-colored and clumsy attempts to represent the life of the poor (e.g. Potato-Eaters, 1885, Amsterdam), influenced by one of his artistic heroes, Millet. He moved to Paris in 1886, living with his devoted brother, Theo, who as a dealer introduced him to artists like Gauguin, Pissarro, Seurat and Toulouse-Lautrec. In Paris, he discovered color as well as the divisionist ideas which helped to create the distinctive dashed brushstrokes of his later work (e.g. Pere Tanguy, 1887, Paris). He moved to Arles, in the south of France, in 1888, hoping to establish an artists' colony there, and was immediately struck by the hot reds and yellows of the Mediterranean, which he increasingly used symbolically to represent his own moods (e.g. Sunflowers, 1888, London, National Gallery). He was joined briefly by Gauguin in October 1888, and managed in some works to combine his own ideas with the latter's Synthetism (e.g. The Sower, 1888, Amsterdam), but the visit was not a success. A final argument led to the infamous episode in which Van Gogh mutilated his ear.
BOOKSVincent Van Gogh
Myra Schapiro, Meyer Schapiro
This Harry Abrams-published book is an excellent and economical introduction. Meyer Schapiro was one of the greatest, most readable, art critics. The reproductions are not the greatest (this was published originally in 1983), but the writing more than makes up for any graphical deficiencies.
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh
The letters from Vincent to his beloved brother Theo are required reading for anyone who wants to understand the tortured artist. In them, van Gogh provides deep insights into his working process, providing details on his motifs and compositional decisions. These letters, with the sensitive commentary of De Leeuw, are almost an essential accompaniment to his paintings.
Excellent graphics and an even more attractive price make this compilation hard to resist. Van Gogh's most searching artistic analysis was of himself, as his famous self-portraits show...and this book includes them all.
Van Gogh in Saint Remy and Auvers/D2212P
This is the catalog to a 1986 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The reproductions are good quality, and the essays well chosen, written by the world's foremost experts on van Gogh. This exhibition covered the final phase of Vincent's tragically short career.
When he says COMPLETE, he means it...this is the real thing, with a price to match.
ARTICLESText about "Irises" from Meyer Schapiro, "Vincent Van Gogh"
Text about "The Poet's Garden" from Meyer Schapiro, "Vincent Van Gogh"
Text about "Self-portrait" from Meyer Schapiro, "Vincent Van Gogh"
Text about "The Sower" from J. van der Wolk, "Vincent Van Gogh: Paintings and Drawings"
Text about "The Starry Night" from J. van der Wolk, "Vincent Van Gogh: Paintings and Drawings"
ONLINE RESOURCESDavid Brooks' passion for van Gogh pours out of every pixel in his "Vincent van Gogh Information Gallery", making it a must-see for van Gogh on the Web.
Nicolas Pioch's WebMuseum includes many images as well as a biography from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
Voyager has an online preview of their new "Van Gogh: Starry Night" CD-ROM, in which art historian Albert Boime debunks much of the "mad artist" mythology that has grown up around van Gogh. An Artchive CD-ROM review of this product is now online.