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Van Gogh on Art and Artists

Letters to Emile Bernard · Dover Fine Art, History of Art

by Vincent van Gogh


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"In a picture I want to say something comforting as music is comforting," Vincent van Gogh confided to his friend and fellow artist, Emile Bernard. "I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize and which we seek to give by the actual radiance and vibration of our colorings." Written in the years 1887 to 1889, these letters are among the most important and relevant sources of insight into van Gogh's life and art. Apart from their fascinating content, they are among the most sensitive and perceptive studies ever published about the man and the artist.
On his decision to make the letters public, Barnard commented, "After reading them one could not doubt his [van Gogh's] sincerity, his character, nor his originality; there, pulsating with life, one would find the whole of him." Indeed, these 23 letters, eloquently translated into English, radiate with their author's impulsiveness, intensity, and mysticism. In one van Gogh admits: "I can't disguise from you the fact that I like the country, having been brought up there — floods of memories of the past, aspirations towards that infinity, of which the sower and the sheaves are symbols, enchant me now as then. But I wonder when I'll get my starry sky done, a picture which haunts me always."
Complemented by handsome black-and-white reproductions of some of van Gogh's major paintings and facsimiles from his letters, this volume is essential reading for scholars and students of art and will be treasured by artists and art lovers alike.

Publication Details

Dover Publications
Publication Date:
Dover Fine Art, History of Art


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Van Gogh on Art and Artists
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