978-0-87099-376-3 / 9780870993763

Van Gogh in Arles


Publisher:H.N. Abrams



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About the book:

In Arles, Vincent van Gogh was seized by a dramatic passion. Inspired by the light and myriad colours when he first came to this little town hundreds of miles from his native Holland, in just over a year he painted 333 works in a frenzy of artistic activity. This prolific output was not at the expense of quality, for he produced some of the finest, most significant and most popular works in all modern art. His "Sunflowers", "Cafe at Night", "Starry Night" and "Bedroom", as well as his visionary portraits of ordinary people made history in both art and the art market. As he experimented relentlessly, he progressed from an earthy realism to virtuoso Impressionism. Vincent van Gogh was born in 1853 in Groot Zundert in the Netherlands, son of a Protestant clergyman. He was, for a probatory period, a lay evangelist, teaching himself to draw and paint. From 1886 on, he incorporated the influence of French Impressionism and Japanese woodcuts into his work. He began to use brighter colours and in Arles achieved his own unmistakable style, while working with Paul Gauguin. He died - aged just 37 - in 1890 in a guesthouse at Auvers-sur-Oise from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. This book reflects the hectic pace of Van Gogh's time in Aries. It describes how the artist achieved this pinnacle of perfection and how the constant self-inflicted pressure took its toll, causing him, a year later, to stay in an asylum. As he himself put it, "Left to myself alone, I will rely on my intoxication with work ...and then I shall let myself go without limits." The text dispenses with the myth and speculation that surround this period of Van Gogh's life, and uses firm evidence to place the artist in a dramatic new light. He is established as a stranger among strangers, having had little time away from his work to socialize in his new environment. The book also identifies Van Gogh's ambition to create a new form of art and carefully documents and analyzes his artistic development in this frenetic time.

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