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Van Gogh

Van Gogh [Kindle Edition]

Steven Naifeh , Gregory White Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Product Description


'Magisterial' --New York Times

This generation's definitive portrait of the great Dutch post-Impressionist.' --Time Magazine

'Brings a booming authorial voice and boundless ingenuity to the task ... a thoroughly engaging account' --Wall Street Journal

'This fast-paced, richly rewarding biography rings all the bells and blows all the whistles.' --Times

'The authors of this mammoth new life have done an excellent job, putting together a fast-moving narrative that scarcely slackens' --Sunday Telegraph

'Astounding in its thoroughness and range ... the authors really come to grips with Van Gogh the man.' --Royal Academy of Arts Magazine

'Art Book of the Year: A huge achievement... This will will surely be the standard biography for years to come.' --Sunday Times

'Art Books of the Year: Rigorous research and imaginative ingenuity are roped together to offer a compelling account' --Times

'Book of the Week: Meticulously researched ****' --Mail on Sunday

'It would be hard to find a page that does not have a surprising fact or an illuminating point.' --Country Life

Book Description

The definitive, myth-busting biography, based on new materials, by the bestselling, prize-winning authors of Pollock.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11450 KB
  • Print Length: 974 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846680255
  • Publisher: Profile Books (17 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005WW68FW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,490 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man and the Art 14 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are thinking of buying this book (which I strongly suggest you do), then you should know a few things in advance. The basic text is 868 pages plus appendices. It took me (a fast reader) over two months to complete and despite some very intelligent writing about the pictures, this is not an art historical analysis but a biography. Yet these observations not withstanding, this is still a magnificent piece of work. It succeeds for many reasons. Firstly, it uses, and sticks to the primary sources about the artist so one always feels the narrative is grounded in fact. Given that the most extensive resource is the letters between Vincent and his brother Theo, there is a sense in which the book becomes the story of the relationship between two brothers, but it is none the worse for that except that it means periods like Van Gogh's 2 years living with Theo in Paris are given rather short shrift as obviously they were not writing to each other. The authors are clearly convinced that it is impossible to separate the life and art of the artist and very convincingly relate many works to particular people and moments in Van Gogh's life-the views of Nuenen church to his dead father for example or the idealized views of the Yellow House in Arles which they rightly portray not simply as an invitation to Gauguin, but the very evocation of a "New Art of the South". However, do not come away with the impression that this book is anyway dry or academic, its rigorous research and learning are lightly worn with intriguing insights and telling detail on nearly every page. The Vincent who emerges from this account is a demythologized one far removed for the self indulgence of Hollywood's Lust for Life portrayal. Read more ›
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What things I might have done" 4 Feb 2012
By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER
This vast biography is a gripping and often heartbreaking account of a tortured genius, probably suffering from what would now be diagnosed as a bi-polar disorder, which both fed his strikingly original work but also hindered his recognition as a great artist in his lifetime.

The joint authors paint a generally unflattering portrait of Van Gogh, although he was clearly well-intentioned, and showed occasional flashes of self-knowledge and touching, excessive humility or regret over past errors. Argumentative and excitable, he upset virtually everyone he met and drove away potential friends and lovers by being too intense, smothering and controlling. The only woman he ever managed to possess was the worn down prostitute Sien Hoornik, with whom he set up house, together with her baby, to his clergyman father's distress, only to abandon her for some new obsession with little evidence of any sense of guilt.

After a number of "false starts" as an art dealer who felt honesty-bound to tell customers the shortcomings of artworks for sale, a teacher, a theological student and a missionary in the grim coalmining area of the Borinage, he spent the last decade of his life as a self-taught and astonishingly prolific artist.

The book is strong on Van Gogh's development as an artist, and the various influences on his work, such as Delacroix's startling use of colour.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 10 Jan 2013
By Tee Jay
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This biography was absolutely brilliant, well researched, so detailed & easy to read. I just loved it from start to finish, took me 3 months to read as the book is huge, so not easy to carry around with you. I'm a Van gogh fan now & reading this has got me really interested in art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely interesting and informative. As an art historian who has lectured for many years on this period and on Van Gogh, I found plenty of new information and facts which corrected my previous impressions. For example the fact that Van Gogh returned several times to Arles in 1889 after being committed to the asylum at St Remy, and of course the possibility that Van Gogh did not actually commit suicide, but was the victim of an accidental shooting which he decided to keep secret to protect those involved. There is no better account of Van Gogh's life in existence and this will become the standard biography. There some faults in particular the length of the book and certain amount of editing would have helped reduce its size by maybe a couple of hundred pages. There is repetition which a good editor could have cut out. However overall a great book and a great achievement
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is not an easy book to read. When I started it, I wasn't sure I would get though 900 pages: from childhood, VVG was horribly maladjusted and unhappy, starting a pattern of wild mood swings, feverish and doomed efforts to succeed in the eyes of his family, and breakdowns in all his relationships and undertakings. Perhaps worst, I had always romanticized him as a hyper-sensitive victim, someone like the Don McClean ballad of a heroic lonely genius. But, according to this (utterly convincing) interpretation, VVG was an extremely unpleasant, vicious, selfish loser, who alternately saw himself as a Christ-like figure or as a total failure whose only option to avoid shame was death. Nonetheless, after struggling to get my mind into this narrative (some 200 pp.) and with the somewhat florid prose of the book, I found myself completely trusting the authors, whose research in the details of VVG's life and times is nothing short of magnificent. From that point, it became a dazzling exploration of one of the most seminal periods in history, when a new art was born to embody the changes underway with the industrial revolution and the birth of the science of psychology.

VVG was born into a rigid and narrow-minded family, with strictly enforced rules and oppressive expectations. His father was a country preacher and his mother a fearfully aspiring bourgeoise, both self-righteous and unquestioning of their beliefs. Each child was assigned a role to follow, and unfortunately for VVG, he fell into the role of black sheep, forever unable to satisfy their demands in the way that they wanted. This created a profound alienation that he never grew beyond.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
what a great biography. I am very much looking forward to reading this thoroughly during the summer holiday. It looks a fine book.
Published 2 months ago by Resurgam
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on Van Gogh
This is absolutely the best book I have read on Van Gogh. As an ardent fan of the artist, I have read many books about him over the years. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Coco
5.0 out of 5 stars and as far as i know it's the first time foul play is suspected in the...
I've read several biographies of Van Gogh, and as far as i know it's the first time foul play is suspected in the great artist's death. Very well written and factually accurate. Read more
Published 9 months ago by E. Rui Batarda
5.0 out of 5 stars van gogh - the life
this is the most informative book on van goghs life I have read. immensely detailed, richly written, a joy to read and to dip into time and time again. masterful.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic !!!!
It took me only a week to read this book (900 pages)....... buy it, it's an excellent read if you love Van Gogh and art in general. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Cori73
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear Me !!!!!
I am at present reading this in conjuction with The Letter,s of Vincent van Gogh , i wonder in all the author,s 10 year,s of research did they actually read the letter,s??? Read more
Published 19 months ago by Kim
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful portrait of a deeply troubled man
I received this book for Christmas from my parents - thought it would take me a long time to get through it. Read more
Published on 14 Mar 2012 by Mr. S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Detailed but not boring, emotional but not soppy, this is a book that takes you to the heart of the Vincent Van Gogh legend. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by Ashley Hames
5.0 out of 5 stars Van Gogh - his life by his letters
I was enthralled - unexpectedly - by the convoluted history of his relations with his forgiving family and with those chosen as his (temporary) friends and objects of admiration. Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by powen lewis
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His limitless energy for collecting and categorizing, combined with an astounding memory, &quote;
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I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.” &quote;
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Less a style, indeed, than a system of notation, superlatively bold, sincere and faithful, created from instant to instant, out of anything and everything in such a fashion that one never thinks of the words but seems to be in direct touch with the gush of vital thought, with all its palpitations and starts, with its suddenly checked flights and the mighty beating of its wings. &quote;
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