on 6 February 2007
It is not as easy a read as Stone's van Gog biography Lust For Life, but for fans, it's a deep book.
Vincent tells of how he went into the fields to paint, and then a rain storm came. He sought meager shelter behind a big tree while it lasted, and then resumed. And because he had started with a low vantage point, he now had to stand on his knees in the mud! He seems to merely mention this to point out why he considers common workman's clothes to be the artist's best friend...
He also tells how he went out to paint the sea, in a storm so strong he could barely stay on his feet. One painting got so full of sand from the beach that he went to a nearby inn and retouched it... and then went back out into the storm to finish it with fresh impressions!
Today, most of us: "Go out with the camera today? Nah, it's a bit nippy, and I just got the Sopranos on DVD..."
Irving Stone edited Dear Theo, and while he may have done a good job generally, I think it was a disservice to the material to not indicate where he cut it. It is just one long text, no dates and no indication where each quote starts or ends.
on 16 August 1999
You can see the world through Vincent's eyes here... you can actually get to see how he thought and felt... his was a deep, deep soul, therefore misunderstood by everyone that surrounded him...
He was lonely all his life, so everything he had to say he said it to his brother Theo through this letters. And so, he made a huge collection of letters filled with a lot of thoughts, feelings, philosophy, wisdom and of course a lot of comments on painting too.
The letters are edited by Irving Stone (author of "Lust for Life", the best van Gogh biography I've run into).
Although the book is a little hard to read, it really is worth it.
on 11 December 1997
Irving Stone introduced much of the world to Vincent Van Gogh through his superb bio/novel'Lust For Life'but here it's the artist himself that tells the moving,dramatic story that no fictive acount can touch.While Stone's editorial gifts are considerable the true star of this important compilation is of course the 'Author'.We discover within these pages a mind,a heart,and a soul that shine with an intensity rivaled only by the masters own glowing canvases.An artist who 'paints'with words as effectively as with a brush is a rarity.When Vincent describes an observed scene we feel as though we are there.When he begs,cajoles and pleads with brother Theo for more funds for'the work'we sense that it is the artists life itself that is at stake.While it's true that a modern day tragedy is revealed here even more so we can witness a courageous triumph of the spirit over adversity in the extreme. There are few human documents that speak so directly to one as this.
on 17 August 1998
A triumph of a book, a definitive and soulful look into the life and times of one of the greatest painters since the inception of cave painting. I could feel the Artiste's loneliness, his eccentricity, his passion for colours, his love for humanity and the innate tragedy of his unhappy life. A book which can occupy you for days after you have finished reading it. A prize buy.