Biography

Van Gogh: The Life

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who galvanized readers with their Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Jackson Pollock, have written one other journey de force—an exquisitely precise, compellingly readable portrait of Vincent van Gogh. operating with the whole cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of formerly untapped fabrics to deliver an important realizing to the larger-than-life mythology of this nice artist: his early struggles to discover his position on the earth; his excessive courting along with his brother Theo; and his movement to Provence, the place he painted a few of the best-loved works in Western artwork. The authors additionally shed new mild on many unexplored points of Van Gogh’s internal international: his erratic and tumultuous romantic lifestyles; his bouts of melancholy and psychological ailment; and the cloudy conditions surrounding his demise on the age of thirty-seven.
 
even though numerous books were written approximately Van Gogh, no critical, bold exam of his existence has been tried in additional than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh’s existence with an striking vividness and mental acuity that deliver a very new and sympathetic realizing to this specific creative genius.
 
NEW YORK occasions BESTSELLER
 
Praise for Van Gogh: The Life
 
“Magisterial.”—Michiko Kakutani, the hot York Times
 
“This generation’s definitive portrait of the nice Dutch post-Impressionist.”—Time
 
“A travel de strength . . . an immense success . . . studying his lifestyles tale is like using an unending curler coaster of delusional highs and lows. . . . [A] sweepingly authoritative, astonishingly textured book.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Marvelous . . . [Van Gogh] reads like a unique, packed with suspense and intimate element. . . . In appealing prose, Naifeh and Smith argue convincingly for a subtler, extra life like assessment of Van Gogh, and all of us win.”—The Washington Post
 
“Brilliant . . . instantaneously a version of scholarship and an emotive, pacy chew of hagiography.”—The day-by-day Telegraph (London)
 
A NEW YORK TIMES impressive BOOK
 
NAMED the best BOOKS OF THE yr via THE WASHINGTON publish • THE WALL highway magazine • SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE • NPR • THE ECONOMIST • NEWSDAY • BOOKREPORTER

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He describes his ardour as “intellectual,” now not “physical. ” “One half me fancied that i used to be in love,” he wrote, “and with the opposite part i actually used to be. ” If he ever declared that love, it was once no longer a wooing, romantic voice that Caroline heard, yet an insistent, contentious one—the voice that Vincent may continuously use to argue passions (his personal and others’) into submission. It was once the voice of lonely desperation. “I sought after basically to give,” he recalled, “without asking whatever in go back. ” Vincent’s infatuation may possibly or would possibly not have long past unexpressed, however it definitely went unrequited. by the point he and Theo arrived on the get together that day, he should have identified that Caroline Haanebeek used to be making plans to marry their cousin Willem van Stockum. Caroline will also have selected the social gathering to announce her engagement. within the staff photograph, she stands subsequent to Van Stockum and playfully flashes her hand to the digicam, as though to teach off a hoop. Vincent’s response to the statement was once transparent adequate. “If i will not get an outstanding woman,” he informed Theo, “I shall take a nasty one … i might faster be with a nasty whore than be by myself. ” pushed extra by means of loneliness than libido (“my actual passions have been very vulnerable then,” he later confessed), he all started seeing prostitutes. They weren't tough to discover within the Hague. just a couple of blocks from the Goupil shop, in a warren of medieval wood structures referred to as the Geest, Vincent may perhaps locate almost something he sought after, wanting real affection. regardless of a wave of reform within the 1860s and 1870s that required brothels to be registered and prostitutes to endure typical scientific assessments, the traditional company of intercourse flourished uninterrupted in the street. for each brothel shuttered via regulatory burdens, a lager condo or tobacconist store “with woman carrier” opened instead. Later, while Theo moved to The Hague, Vincent warned him to not patronize such areas “unless you can’t do otherwise—then there isn't any damage in it for as soon as. ” Vincent’s visits to the Geest, which begun not less than as early because the fall of 1872, whilst he was once nineteen, have been the 1st in a life of journeys down darkish roads and dockside alleys looking for the intimacy he couldn't locate somewhere else. Brothels have been usually his first cease in a brand new urban. occasionally he got here simply to take a seat, to percentage a drink, to play playing cards, or to talk—“about lifestyles, approximately concerns, approximately distress, approximately everything,” he acknowledged. If the brothel keeper kicked him out, he could stand open air the doorway and simply watch the shoppers come and pass. while admitted, he engaged within the coarse whorehouse humor of his fellow consumers, and will fence in bawdy innuendo with the simplest of them. yet his personal interactions with “those ladies who're so damned and condemned” appeared continually to be marked by means of empathy and the reticence of desire. He confessed a “special affection” for them, and sagely recommended Theo to determine purely these prostitutes “you can think anything for. ” Vincent later recorded that, after the 1st depressing years, his time within the Hague grew to become “much happier” round 1872.

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