Van Gogh

Van Gogh : The Life

4.11 (16,553 ratings by Goodreads)
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Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith galvanized readers with their astonishing "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga," winner of the Pulitzer Prize for biography, a book acclaimed for its miraculous research and overwhelming narrative power. Now Naifeh and Smith have written another tour de force--an exquisitely detailed, compellingly readable, and ultimately heartbreaking portrait of creative genius Vincent van Gogh.
Working with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of previously untapped materials. While drawing liberally from the artist's famously eloquent letters, they have also delved into hundreds of unpublished family correspondences, illuminating with poignancy the wanderings of Van Gogh's troubled, restless soul. Naifeh and Smith bring a crucial understanding to the larger-than-life mythology of this great artist--his early struggles to find his place in the world; his intense relationship with his brother Theo; his impetus for turning to brush and canvas; and his move to Provence, where in a brief burst of incandescent productivity he painted some of the best-loved works in Western art.
The authors also shed new light on many unexplored aspects of Van Gogh's inner world: his deep immersion in literature and art; his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; and his bouts of depression and mental illness.
Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, and though the broad outlines of his tragedy have long inhabited popular culture, no serious, ambitious examination of his life has been attempted in more than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh's life with an astounding vividness and psychological acuity that bring a completely new and sympathetic understanding to this unique artistic genius whose signature images of sunflowers and starry nights have won a permanent place in the human imagination.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 953 pages
  • 175 x 234 x 48mm | 1,383g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Firsttion
  • black & white illustrations, colour illustrations, maps, frontispiece
  • 0375507485
  • 9780375507489
  • 175,167

Review quote

Advance praise for "Van Gogh: The Life"
"The definitive biography for decades to come."--Leo Jansen, curator, the Van Gogh Museum, and co-editor of "Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Letters
Praise for "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga"
"A superb biography [that] reads with the fluid grace of a fine novel. . . . In a period of many fine biographies, this ranks among the best.""--Detroit Free Press"
" "
"Amazing . . . An extraordinarily riveting work, full of miraculous research.""--Chicago Sun-Times"
"Brilliant and definitive . . . so absorbing in its narrative drive and so exhaustingly detailed that it makes everything that came before seem like trial balloons.""--The Philadelphia Inquirer"
"Monumental and impressive."--"The Washington Post"
"Unprecedented . . . Never before have we had such a thorough and affecting account of an American artist."--"Los Angeles Times"
"As imposing as a history book, as entertaining as a novel
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About Steven Naifeh

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith are graduates of Harvard Law School. Mr. Naifeh, who has written for art periodicals and has lectured at numerous museums including the National Gallery of Art, studied art history at Princeton and did his graduate work at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. Together they have written many books on art and other subjects, including four "New York Times" bestsellers. Their biography "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga" won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also inspired the Academy Award-winning 2000 film "Pollock" starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as well as John Updike's novel, "Seek My Face." Naifeh and Smith have been profiled in "The New Yorker, The New York Times, USA Today, "and" People, "and have appeared on "60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, "and the "Today" show.
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Rating details

16,553 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 48% (7,942)
4 28% (4,563)
3 16% (2,613)
2 5% (809)
1 4% (626)
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