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Did Vermeer make mistakes? What is the Milkmaid preparing in her kitchen? Is the Girl with a Pearl Earring really a masterpiece and is her pearl a fake? Why did the artist's reputation vaporize so quickly after he died and why is he so famous today? What tricks and special colors did he use? Bolstered by his lifelong study of Vermeer and decades of experience as a professional painter, Jonathan Janson reveals Vermeer's life and art in human, down-to-earth terms.

For anyone interested in Vermeer the man and Vermeer's art, rather than his myth, 25 Things You Didn't Know about Vermeer offers rare glimpses into the artist's day-to-day experiences and struggles both inside and outside the confines of his studio.


25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know about Vermeer: Tricks, Troubles and Triumphs of a Great Dutch Master
Jonathan Janson
2021 | PDF | $6.95

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Vincent van Gogh (by publication date)

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Van Gogh and Japan

by Louis van Tilborgh
Van Gogh and Japan

"All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art." —Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh's (1853–1890) encounter with Japanese ukiyo-e prints during his time in Paris was decisive for the direction that his art would take in the years to come. He enthusiastically assembled a collection of the prints with the idea of dealing in them, and soon was captivated by their colorful and cheerful imagery and style, which began to exert a dramatic influence on his own work. Gradually this enchanted world became his main artistic reference point. From then on, he positioned himself as an artist in the Japanese tradition in order to gain a reputation with the avant-garde of the day.

This gorgeous publication offers a detailed reassessment of the impact Japanese printmaking had on Van Gogh's creative output. Featuring essays by the world's leading Van Gogh experts, this book details the ways in which the artist constructed his understanding of a Japanese aesthetic and his utopian ideal of a so-called primitive society, and incorporated these into his own vision and practice. The size, nature and importance of Van Gogh's own collection of Japanese prints are also explored. Lavish illustrations include oil paintings and drawings by Van Gogh as well as a selection of the Japanese works that so captured his imagination.

A Memoir of Vincent van Gogh

by Jo van Gogh-Bonger
A Memoir of Vincent van Gogh

The general outlines of Vincent van Gogh's life—the early difficulties in Holland and Paris, the revelatory impact of the move to Provence, the attacks of madness and despair that led to his suicide—are almost as familiar as his paintings. Yet neither the paintings nor Van Gogh's story might have survived at all had it not been for his sister-in-law, the teacher, translator and socialist Jo van Gogh-Bonger.

Jo married the painter's brother, Theo, in 1889, and over the next two years lived through the deaths of both Vincent and her new husband. Left with an infant son, she inherited little save a cache of several hundred paintings and an enormous archive of letters. Advised to consign these materials to an attic, she instead dedicated her life to making them known. Over the next three decades she tirelessly promoted Vincent's art, organizing major exhibitions and compiling and editing the correspondence, the first edition of which included, as a preface, her account of Van Gogh's life. This short biography, written from a vantage point of familial intimacy, affords a revealing and, at times, heartbreaking testimony to the painter's perilous life.

An introduction by the art critic and scholar Martin Gayford provides an insightful discussion of the author's relationship with the Van Goghs, while abundant color illustrations throughout the book trace the development of the painter's signature style.

Van Gogh and Music: A Symphony in Blue and Yellow

by Natascha Veldhorst and Diane Webb
Van Gogh and Music: A Symphony in Blue and Yellow

"Ah! . . . to make of painting what the music of Berlioz and Wagner has been before us . . . a consolatory art for distressed hearts!"—Vincent van Gogh.

This engaging book is the first in-depth investigation of the influential role that music and sound played throughout Vincent van Gogh's (1853–1890) life. From psalms and hymns to the operas of Richard Wagner to simple birdsong, music represented to Van Gogh the ultimate form of artistic expression. And he believed that by emulating music painting could articulate deep truths and impart a lasting emotional impact on its viewers. In Van Gogh and Music Natascha Veldhorst provides close readings of the many allusions to music in the artist's prolific correspondence and examines the period's artistic theory to offer a rich picture of the status of music in late 19th-century culture. Veldhorst shows the extent to which Van Gogh not only admired the ability of music to inspire emotion, but how he incorporated musical subject matter and techniques into his work, with illustrations of celebrated paintings such as Sunflowers in a Vase, which he described as "a symphony in blue and yellow." An expansive inquiry into the significance of sound and music for the artist, including the formative influence of his song-filled upbringing, Van Gogh and Music is full of fascinating new insights into the work of one of history's most venerated artists.

Van Gogh (Basic Art Album)

by Rainer Metzger
Van Gogh (Basic Art Album)

Vincent van Gogh's story is one of the most ironic in art history. Today, he is celebrated the world over as one of the most important painters of all time, recognized with sell-out shows, feted museums, and record prices of tens of millions of dollars at auction.

Yet as he was painting the canvases that would subsequently become these sell-out modern masterpieces, van Gogh was battling not only the disinterest of his contemporary audiences but also devastating bouts of mental illness, with episodes of depression and paralyzing anxiety which would eventually claim his life in 1890, when he committed suicide shortly after his 37th birthday.

This comprehensive study of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) pairs a detailed monograph on his life and art with a complete catalogue of his 871 paintings.

Vincent Van Gogh wrote hundreds of letters to his brother Theo as well as to family members and fellow artists including Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard. In many of them he described, in painstaking detail and beautiful prose, the progress of his work. Van Gogh's Letters presents more than 150 of these stirring letters, excerpted and newly translated, and set side-by-side with the art it describes, including sketches, drawings, and paintings. The result is an elegantly rendered collection that allows us to see the world through the eyes of one of the greatest artists of all time.

This comprehensive CD-ROM includes all 2,200 works that Van Gogh produced during his career: paintings, drawings, watercolors, letter sketches and juvenilia. Designed for both scholars as well as the general public, this CD-ROM has an intuitive, yet powerful search and query tool for accessing Van Gogh's works.

The database contains high quality images of every single artwork, many reproduced in color for the first time. Each artwork record contains a full physical description, date, location, along with full provenance and exhibition history.

Van Gogh's Imaginary Museum: Exploring the Artist's Inner World

by Chris Stolwijk, Sjraar Van Heugten, and Leo Jansen
Van Gogh's Imaginary Museum: Exploring the Artist's Inner World

This lush volume accompanies an important exhibition opening in February 2003 at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vincent van Gogh. It brings together the paintings that inspired him—by such masters as Rembrandt and Rubens, Corot and Courbet, Monet and Gauguin—with dozens of his own works, creating an "imaginary museum" that reveals a fascinating dialogue between the artist and his art-historical predecessors. The book features 170 reproductions from the "imaginary museum" itself, most accompanied by fascinating related excerpts from the artist's correspondence.

Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings

by Ingo F Walther
Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings

A complete catalogue of the 871 paintings and a detailed monograph on his life and art. This study of Vincent van Gogh represents a rare and happy chance in art history, combining a detailed monograph on his life and art with a complete catalogue of the 871 paintings by one of the greatest modern artists. This volume also reproduces most of van Gogh's paintings in colour for the first time.

Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers

by Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov
Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers

Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers includes almost 300 colorplates and 60 black-and-white illustrations that present a portrait of Van Gogh the artist, and uses beautiful colored and textured paper and die-cuts for the chapter openers. Van Gogh's own words, placed together with preparatory sketches for his works and vintage postcards and photographs, enhance an insightful text.

Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South

by Douglas Druick & Peter Kort Zegers
Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South

To accompany the Art Institute of Chicago blockbuster van Gogh and Gauguin exhibit, here's a blockbuster book, with reproductions of such sensuous beauty that they are likely to convert even non-fans of the squabbling yet eternally linked pair. This book's subtitle is a translation of a phrase van Gogh used, more accurately rendered as "The Studio in Southern France," where van Gogh and Gauguin were in close contact, inspiring and antagonizing one another in a way that has fascinated generations of poets, playwrights, screenwriters and even art historians. The most famous van Gogh paintings, like Starry Night and Sunflowers, are put into context here, and there is room also for early, lesser-known works. Four major chapters "Origins," "Encounters," "South Versus North," "The Studio of the South" are followed by a chapter of letters exchanged by the two artists; a "coda" about Gauguin in the tropics, after van Gogh's famous ear-cutting incident broke up their partnership; and a technical appendix with results from lab investigations of canvas fibers and paint chemistry that help to date the works.

In clear art historical prose, the painters' motivations are pointed out, such as van Gogh's portrait of Gauguin seen from behind: "In no other instance did Vincent decline to confront a sitter in this way." Two self-portraits, done simultaneously for a friend named Paul Laval, are cogently contrasted, with van Gogh's depiction of his own face showing "a scowl of concern and irritation, his green-eyed gaze skittish..." whereas Gauguin's view of himself shows "watchful, almost smug self-possession." This kind of lively character analysis, as well as art historical smarts, will make this a prestigious title for anyone even vaguely interested in modern French painting, but the 510 illustrations (over 300 in color) are the stars of the show here.

This is the first in what promises to be an exciting new series of eight volumes devoted to the drawings and paintings of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which purportedly holds some 70 percent of the artist's output. This volume chronicles his early draughtsmanship, providing some 68 colored illustrations of cataloged drawings that clearly show the artist coming to grips with line, value, texture, light and perspective. In a typical entry, the author, the museum's curator of prints and drawings, includes a date, medium, type of paper, sheet size, annotations to marks found on the front and verso of the sheet, provenance and references to pertinent letters, scholarly literature, and exhibitions. Appendixes provide more complete information on exhibits and scholarly literature. Though expensive, these volumes will be invaluable to libraries supporting scholarly art research.

The Taschen Posterbooks are of excellent quality. The six Van Gogh's given us here, for a very low price, are a nicely representative group. Primarily the most impressive factor is the accuracy with which the colors are reproduced.

Van Gogh's Van Goghs

by Richard Kendall
Van Gogh's Van Goghs

This lavish but manageable book is the catalog for one of the most successful van Gogh exhibitions ever (at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., through January 3, 1999, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from January 17, 1999, to April 4, 1999). Judging from the haunting, beautifully reproduced paintings and drawings in the book—which range from the iconic to the rarely seen—it is easy to see why hordes of people keep pressing through overcrowded galleries to get a glimpse of the originals. The ones here are all from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, where most of Vincent's work resides.

Author Richard Kendall does a heroic job of writing van Gogh's tortured story one more time. Few artists have analyzed their own work with the clarity and insight Vincent brought to his. And Kendall relies heavily on Vincent's letters to his brother Theo, giving the reader broad access to the ultimate expert, the painter himself. The wealth of color plates is intoxicating—70 paintings, including The Potato Eaters and other early, gloomy works, a dozen self-portraits, Almond Blossom, Wheatfield with Crows, Butterflies and Poppies, The Bedroom, The Zouave, and The Courtesan (van Gogh's take on a Japanese geisha in full regalia).

It seems trivial to further praise the book's designers for holding it to only 150 pages, but the length makes an important difference. This is a volume that fits comfortably on the lap, to be perused and enjoyed at close range, for hours if you want, and not just displayed in unwieldy glory on a coffee table.
Peggy Moorman

The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

by Vincent van Gogh
The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

This thorough collection of Van Gogh's letters has been assembled with an artful eye and sensitivity to the artist's thinking. The result is an atypical take on Vincent van Gogh that avoids putting too much stress on his troubled mental state and too much straining by the editor to shape a narrative out of van Gogh's epistolary clues. Instead, we see the thoughtful and contemplative side of this creative genius, as well as his concern for the impact his art and life had on those people closest to him.

Vincent Van Gogh was a great painter, but not a writer. So these letters are of interest in terms of history and painting. The life of Van Gogh is better exposed here than it would have been in a "real" autobiography, because Theo, his younger brother, was the only real friend Vincent ever had.

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