The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh


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A new selection of post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gough's letters, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh put a human face on one of the most haunting figures in modern Western culture. In this Penguin Classics edition, the letters are selected and edited by Ronald de Leeuw, and translated by Arnold Pomerans in Penguin Classics.

Few artists' letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent van Gogh's, and this selection, spanning his artistic career, sheds light on every facet of the life and work of this complex and tortured man. Engaging candidly and movingly with his religious struggles, his ill-fated search for love, his attacks of mental illness and his relation with his brother Theo, the letters contradict the popular myth of van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead a man of great emotional and spiritual depths. Above all, they stand as an intense personal narrative of artistic development and a unique account of the process of creation.

The letters are linked by explanatory biographical passages, revealing van Gogh's inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition also includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853-1890) was born in Holland. In 1885 he painted his first masterpiece, The Potato Eaters, a haunting scene of domestic poverty. A year later he began studying in Paris, where he met Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Seurat, who became very important influences on his work. In 1888 he left Paris for the Provencal landscape at Arles, the subject of many of his best works, including Sunflowers.

If you enjoyed The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, you might also like 100 Artists Manifestos, available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'If there was ever any doubt that Van Gogh's letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellini's autobiography and Delacroix's journal, this excellent new edition dispels it'
The Times

Title:The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    The Letters of Vincent van Gogh Reviews

  • Kalliope

    STARRY LETTERS 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...

  • Roy Lotz

    For great things do not just happen by impulse but are a succession of small things linked together. The main problem when encountering Van Gogh is that his life has become the quintessential artis...

  • Francisco

    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? Wi...

  • Piyangie

    I have had an interest in painting since my younger days. I never painted myself, nor could I draw or sketch, yet I was drawn into this branch of art. Perhaps it is because I had a poet's mind or perh...

  • Luís

    That a woman is a ‘quiet different being’ from a man, and a being we do not yet know, or at best only superficially, as you put it, yes, that I am sure. And that a woman and a man can become one, ...

  • Loretta

    Beautiful letters written by a beautiful soul and one of the most gifted artists of all time, in my humble opinion. 😊...

  • E. G.

    About This EditionTranslator's NoteIntroductionBiographical Outline--Early Letters--Ramsgate and Isleworth--Dordrecht--Amsterdam--The Borinage--Etten--The Hague--The Hague, Drenthe and Nuenen--From Nu...

  • Stacey B

    I loved this book. It was the only way I knew of to get to know this man/artist.Had I known about this earlier, it would have been extremely cool to read this while spending hours inside the VG museum...

  • 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...

  • Matt

    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 ...