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Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh

Van Gogh: The Life (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith

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312835,693 (4.41)18
Title:Van Gogh: The Life
Authors:Steven Naifeh
Other authors:Gregory White Smith
Info:Random House (2011), Hardcover, 976 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

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Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh (2011)



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a very informative biography of this artist. vincent was a failure at everything he attempted in his life. it appears that he had a form of epilepsy that affected his brain from normal functioning of course he also had syphilis. the interesting thing was at his first his greatest point of madness, cutting off his ear while living with Gauguin was the time his art became known to the art world. When Gauguin returned to Paris he of course told the story of that night. Gauguin was the raising star of the art world. a young art critic, Albert Aurier, heard the story and he became interested in Van Gogh. He then became his champion. Sad for van gogh it was too late. the book studies not only the creative process of the art world but also the money of that world ( )
  michaelbartley | Sep 29, 2013 |
Fantastic depth of research and meticulously written, unfortunately not a great read because its so damn depressing, Naifeh certainly accentuates the negatives in Van Gogh's life. Its a somber catalogue of Van Gogh's gradual alienation from his family, society and eventually life itself. Not denying that this certainly happened and his life was an unfolding tragedy, however, I would much rather see Van Gogh celebrated for his genius and his work. There's precious little of that here. My advice to Mr Naifeh and any other would-be biographer of this immortal artist would be "Lighten up, guys" ( )
  drmaf | Sep 16, 2013 |
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. Recommended by Carolyn Stephens
  SFCC | Jun 4, 2013 |
An astonishing and redefining portrait of a tormented and brilliant artist. Covers literally everything - family life and troubles, alienating personality, the books and painters he adored, everything.

Van Gogh does not come across as a too sympathetic person - his personality, ingratiating and tempestuous, has driven away all but a few of his most devoted friends and his brother. His early forays with jobs and art education are embarrassing to read. He is fragile, wracked with his desires and the epilepsy and depression which tormented him, but audacious, producing brilliant portraits within days. His output is astonishing. One wonders about the old adages about the costs of genius, and how van Gogh himself says "I put my heart and soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

The madness of genius. Despite everything, he is praised and immortalized.

Excellent choice of pictures accompany the text - the color reproductions are excellent, and you can see the clumps of paint from the individual brush strokes. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Eight hundred pages to cover 37 years? You bet!
There was a lot to draw from, since Vincent Van Gogh wrote many many letters, especially to his brother Theo. Inevitably, it becomes the story of both brothers, since they were so important to each other's existence.

I can't imagine Vincent was a man who'd be easy to get along with, what with his constant bridge burning, but I really felt bad for him. Nothing went right for him in his life, and though eventually he was treated for mental illness, there was no true happiness for him, and certainly not the companionship that he so desired. Yet he is now one of the most beloved painters of all time. Every time I go into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, any time of day, the area containing his paintings draws the most people. But what a journey that led to this point!

I most enjoyed reading the sections covering his early years, particularly his time in England, didn't like his Dutch period as much (his relationship with his parents was painful) and of course was most intrigued by his later (French) years. ( )
2 vote PensiveCat | Sep 4, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Steven Naifehprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Gregory Whitemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Molegraaf, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To our mothers,
Marion Naifeh and Kathryn White Smith,
who first showed us the joy of art,
and to all the artists of THE JULLIARD SCHOOL,
who have since brought so much joy into our lives,
this book is gratefully dedicated.

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Theo imagined the worst.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375507485, Hardcover)

A Look Inside Van Gogh

Jo Bonger Van Gogh with son Vincent van Gogh
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh, Age 13
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh, Age 18
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Theo van Gogh, 1890
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
The Yellow House Arles
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Graves of Vincent and Theo van Gogh Auvers
Credit: Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Draws on newly available primary sources to present an in-depth, accessible profile that offers revisionist assessments of the influential artist's turbulent life and genius works.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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