The Letters: The Complete Illustrated Edition

Vincent van Gogh, Leo Jansen (ed.), Hans Luijten (ed.), Nienke Bakker (ed.)

The Letters: The Complete Illustrated Edition

Vincent van Goghs 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 Goghs own complex and intriguing character, they enlighten the whole creative process as seen through his eyes. Now Van Goghs entire existing correspondence is to be published in the most complete edition 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 will be 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. Sketches that Van Gogh made throughout the letters themselves are all reproduced here at full size. In over 900 letters we can observe Van Goghs 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. 5.0 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Letters: The Complete Illustrated Edition

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Art, Architecture & Photography, Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 2500
RRP £325.00
Date of Publication October 2009
ISBN 978-0500238653
Publisher Thames & Hudson
 

Vincent van Goghs 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 Goghs own complex and intriguing character, they enlighten the whole creative process as seen through his eyes. Now Van Goghs entire existing correspondence is to be published in the most complete edition 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 will be 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. Sketches that Van Gogh made throughout the letters themselves are all reproduced here at full size. In over 900 letters we can observe Van Goghs 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.

You can browse the letters for free online at www.vangoghletters.org

"Vincent van Gogh’s letters show the soul of the artist" by Matthew Dennison, Times Online

Reviews

The Financial Times

Jackie Wullschlager

A fresh, lively translation – modern without being gimmicky – reasserts his unadorned, evocative idiom. In addition, annotations that are pertinent but not overwhelming provide a backcloth of bright quotidian detail… Best of all, the 242 letters which van Gogh illustrated with sketches are reproduced in their entirety, at actual size. Sent mainly to prove his progress to Theo, they offer sharp insights into his development and are also an emotional barometer.

19/09/2009

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The Guardian

Andrew Motion

One of the major publishing achievements of our time... Each [letter] is fastidiously annotated, which means that a sense of context is always present – no detail, however small, seems to have escaped the editors. Does this mean the main text is drowned in pedantry? No. ... In its capaciousness, the book also reminds us of a fundamental truth about Van Gogh: his ambition as a painter depended on words to give it focus and direction.

21/11/2009

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The Independent

Boyd Tonkin

[A] superbly researched and gorgeously produced edition... £325 may look a steep price for a set of books. Given the quality of the production, and the marathon of multi-national research that has led to this definitive edition, it ought to sound a bargain.

09/10/2009

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The London Review of Books

Julian Bell

Stupendous... Their production values are delicious. The story they contain feels to me like a very, very long 19th-century novel – dotted, incidentally, with characters who could slot straight back into the corniest of triple-deckers... Its protagonist, though, is larger than anything outside Dostoevsky or Tolstoy.

01/11/2009

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The Observer

John Banville

This magnificent new edition of the complete Van Gogh letters is a celebration not only of a great artist but of art itself... The letters, though they offer painful reading in many places, are a record of a great and unrelenting struggle to make a life and to make art, and to make a life in art.

18/10/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Richard Dorment

...it supersedes all [other editions]. It is the art publishing event of the decade... Van Gogh’s letters take us to a place where even the most detailed biography can’t go. Read in sequence they tell us what he was thinking, who he was seeing, what he was reading, and how he was feeling day by day, week by week. We come as close here as anyone can to looking inside the mind of another person.

31/10/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Martin Gayford

This monumental new edition of his correspondence includes high-quality reproductions of all the pictures relevant to each letter. So after reading Van Gogh’s picture in words, one turns the page and there are his paintings of that ever mutable sea. Its other strength lies in the thoroughness with which every person mentioned, every book, exhibition, painting, magazine, newspaper article (Van Gogh was a voracious reader) has been identified and annotated. Fifteen years of work by a team of scholars at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, has gone into these volumes, and it shows.

29/11/2009

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