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The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles Hardcover – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Fig Tree; Reprint edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670914975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670914975
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

`[A] drily witty, original and profoundly absorbing book' The
Independent

`Wonderfully perceptive...revealing and touching book' Telegraph

`A story of such fascination on so many levels...Martin Gayford tells it
vividly, intelligently and intelligibly' Literary Review

`The Yellow House offers a masterly portrait...of the nine weeks in 1888
that Van Gogh and Gauguin lived together in a pokey house in the south of
France' Mail on Sunday

`Wonderfully well told...with the rising tension of an inescapable
nightmare' The Telegraph

The author `manages to get inside two complex minds, analysing their
thoughts, fears, ambitions, complaints and fantasies with admirable
clarity' The Guardian

`Unmannered, sensible and to the point' The Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Martin Gayford has been Art Critic of the Spectator and the Sunday Telegraph. He is currently Chief European Art Critic for Bloomberg. Among his publications are The Penguin Book of Art Writing, of which he was co-editor, and contributions to many catalogues for exhibitions at Tate, the Hayward Gallery, the Courtauld Galleries, the Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris. Martin Gayford lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
While it was still dark, shortly after five o'clock in the morning, a train clanked into the station at Arles and a solitary, exhausted passenger got out. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ChrisWebb on 5 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is not a great choice for the Kindle as much of the narrative of the lives of Gauguin and Van Gogh relates to the paintings they did together and the poor quality of the Kindle versions of these really detracts from Martin Gayford's wonderful research. It would be nice if you had a web link to colour photos of the paintings and at least one could refer to them on line. The illustrations are only captioned in list of illustrations on the contents page and again, this is really annoying as it is not easy to zoom back and forth between pages like you can in a book.
The second problem with this Kindle edition is that the name of the location of the Yellow House, 'Arles', is spelt correctly only 140 times of the 250 times it is mentioned. In 110 cases it is spelt 'Aries'. Somehow when the book was scanned in the l became i and a spell checker didn't pick up the mistake which is really irritating and I would think, really simple to fix.
This is one book that is definitely a book - not a kindle.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Dismore on 21 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
An excellent read with an insight not only into what transpired between Van Gogh and Gauguin in the nine weeks covered by the story but also into the relationships with many other contemporary artists and the art world. Difficult to put down.

BUT, the illustrations are useless as you cannot begin to see what these artists were doing by looking at not very good grey illustrations. Fortunately I have books containing colour reproductions of many of the VanGogh and Gauguin paintings. I recommend any reader to supplement the text in this way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By catherine on 5 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
There are so many typing and spelling errors in this Kindle edition that it really spoils the book for me. Also, the definition of the illustrations is not great. My advice is to buy the printed version of the book. It is a fascinating account and I would give the content 3 or 4 stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By The Prof on 21 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a shame that this book does not have prints of the paintings! It's a wonderful story, told supremely well, but I found myself struggling with the, frankly, pathetic illustrations most of which are so useless that they might as well not have been included. Monochrome illustrations of paintings that rely on colour for their impact - what was the author (or, more likely, his publisher) thinking of? Please Mr Gayford bring out a version with colour plates and I for one will buy it again!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
It has been some time since I last read this book, but it is now the next choice for my local book group. I know some people don’t like this as the pictures by the artists are reproduced in grainy black and white, but I remember once discussing another book with similar type pictures with someone who works in the publishing world, and was told that there can be numerous reasons for this, from copyright and licensing to how much the book would cost if top end colour reproductions were used.

Martin Gayford here gives us a very interesting look at two artists, Van Gogh and Gauguin, and the period they spent together working in the Yellow House of the title. As well as trying to describe those tumultuous weeks we are also taken into the background of both artists, their family backgrounds and their aspirations, etc. Trying to re-create the weeks they spent together is easy on one hand, as we know where they went and what they painted, but it is much harder as you try to get inside the heads of these two people, and how they sparked off of each other.

What we are presented with here then is a fascinating read, even for those who wouldn’t even read such a book concerning art. We learn so much about Gauguin and Van Gogh and what was likely to have gone on between them, and how they both to a large degree inspired and encouraged each other, producing some of their best paintings. Although the illustrations here aren’t that particularly good we can see how they could both approach the same subject and come out with something that is completely different, not only necessarily to what had gone before, but also to each other. Admittedly this book won’t be for everyone, it is a niche product as such, but if you are interested in either artist then this could make a welcome read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Ford on 9 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I got this book on a well known auction site - it was cheaper. It was recommended by an art tutor so I thought I'd take a look. The story is fascinating and I learned much about Van Gogh but also about other painters and his relationship to them. The paper it is printed on is pretty naff - pulp fiction type and yes, any pictures are not in colour but I consider this book to be more of a jumping off point. You learn enough to make you want to know more and even if your local art gallery doesn't have the paintings spoken of, you can see them on line. I do recommend this. I only gave it 4 stars because it would have been nice to have pretty pictures but then it would have cost more too. It's a nice easy way to learn about Van Gogh and the era he lived through and stimulates a desire to know more.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book immensely and learned a lot from it about the two historical figures and also about their processes of painting. Gauguin and, even more, Van Gogh have been mythologised to the extinction of their earthly reality. Gayford's book draws an excellent balance between faction and a scholarly biography. It IS scholarly and clearly based on meticulous research, but it avoids pedantry. Gayford deduces which train our heroes must have caught on their trip to Montpellier and it does not come across as nit-picking detail but rather it adds colour and reality to the scene. Gayford is very clear about what can be proved and what he is inferring from evidence but it is written in a level-headed but novelistic style that makes for easy and enjoyable reading. He uses the copious letters written by the pair, as well as the recollections of local people, to paint very believable portraits of them and their day to day lives over this short but very significant period in the history of art. He, as probably most of us, seems to have more sympathy for Vincent, despite his deeply irritating behaviour. Gauguin comes across as rather self serving at times. Roulin, the postman immortalised Vincent's masterpiece of a portrait, seems like a very decent guy and the sort of mate we could all use. The neighbours who all signed a petition to get Vincent `sectioned', and then swore to him that they had not, are easily imagined. Gayford suggests that Vincent would probably be diagnosed as bipolar today and he is almost certainly correct; and not just because it is a very `fashionable' diagnosis.
NB others reviews criticise the rather indistinct B&W illustrations but I found them useful as indicators...it is easy to look up a proper reproduction on the web and the illustrations in the book help you check that you are looking at the right one!
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