Lust For Life is a fictionalized biography of the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh and is based primarily on Van Gogh's three volumes of letters to his brother, Theo. Van Gogh was a violent, clumsy and passionate man who was driven to the extremity of exhaustion by his fervor to get life -- the essence of it -- into paint. Irving Stone treats the artist with great compassion and gives us a portrait that is sympathetic but fair.
Most unusually among major painters, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) was also an accomplished writer. His letters provide both a unique self-portrait and a vivid picture of the contemporary cultural scene. Van Gogh emerges as a complex but captivating personality, struggling with utter integrity to fulfil his artistic destiny. This major new edition, which is based on an entirely new translation, reinstating a large number of passages omitted from earlier editions, is expressly designed to reveal his inner journey as much as the outward facts of his life. It includes complete letters wherever possible, linked with brief passages of connecting narrative and showing all the pen-and-ink sketches that originally went with them. Despite the familiar image of Van Gogh as an antisocial madman who died a martyr to his art, his troubled life was rich in friendships and generous passions. In his letters we discover the humanitarian and religious causes he embraced, his fascination with the French Revolution, his striving for God and for ethical ideals, his desperate courtship of his cousin, Kee Vos, and his largely unsuccessful search for love. All of this, suggests De Leeuw, demolishes some of the myths surrounding Van Gogh and his career but brings hint before us as a flesh-and-blood human being, an individual of immense pathos and spiritual depth. Perhaps even more moving, these letters illuminate his constant conflicts as a painter, torn between realism, symbolism and abstraction; between landscape and portraiture; between his desire to depict peasant life and the exciting diversions of the city; between his uncanny versatility as a sketcher and his ideal of the full-scale finished tableau. Since Van Gogh received little feedback from the public, he wrote at length to friends, fellow artists and his family, above all to his brother Theo, the Parisian art dealer, who was his confidant and mainstay. Along with his intense powers of visual imagination, Vincent brought to the
Author(s): Vincent Van Gogh, Ronald De Leeuw, Arnold Pomerans
Few, however, knew Van Gogh as well as his sister-in-law. After Vincent's death and that of her husband, his brother Theo, Jo van Gogh-Bonger devoted her life to preserving and exhibiting his paintings, and editing his letters.
From October to December of 1888, Paul Gauguin shared a yellow house in the south of France with Vincent van Gogh. They were the odd couple of the art world—one calm, the other volatile—and the denouement of their living arrangement was explosive. Making use of new evidence and Van Gogh’s voluminous correspondence, Martin Gayford describes not only how these two hallowed artists painted and exchanged ideas, but also the texture of their everyday lives. Gayford also makes a persuasive analysis of Van Gogh’s mental illness—the probable bipolar affliction that led him to commit suicide at the age of thirty-seven. The Yellow House is a singular biographical work, as dramatic and vibrant as the work of these brilliant artists.
Most scholars have argued that van Gogh was insane and that his religious life was a product of this madness - and was something he happily abandoned when he left the Christian ministry to pursue a career as an artist. This biography by Kathleen Powers Erickson is the first to demonstrate the falsehood of such assumptions and to argue that van Gogh's spiritual life was essential to the unfolding of his unique artistic vision. Basing her study on solid biographical evidence, van Gogh's personal correspondence, and informed insight into the painter's artistic imagery, Erickson clearly traces van Gogh's pilgrimage of faith, from his early religious training, through his evangelical missionary period, to his struggle with religion and modern thought, and finally to the synthesis of traditional Christian beliefs with the modern world-view that he achieved in both his life and his art. Unique to this study is Erickson's in-depth examination of van Gogh's mental illness, culminating in her convincing argument that van Gogh's "insanity," long assumed - indeed mythologically contrived - to be schizophrenia, was in fact a psychological disorder resulting from a form of epilepsy. Erickson shows that this famous facet of van Gogh's life, too, was not without a spiritual dimension. In addition, the volume includes five black-and-white pictures of van Gogh and members of his family and a collection of nineteen black-and-white illustrations that reproduce important pieces of van Gogh's artwork.
Published on the hundredth anniversary of Van Gogh’s death, this is the first full-length biography of this undying man in twenty years and surely the most comprehensive account to date. Mr. Callow treats more searchingly than any previous work the development of Van Gogh’s genius and his emergence as an artist after early struggles to find a vocation, first in the world of art dealing and later as an evangelical missionary among Belgian miners. Using the skills and psychological insights of an accomplished novelist, and drawing upon new Van Gogh materials which have surfaced in the last two decades, Mr. Callow sets a turbulent life story firmly in historical context, including Vincent’s desperate attempts to accept his repressive religious upbringing, and his unhappy experiences in love. The story is filled with paradoxes and crushing failures, ending in suicide that was to lead to enormous posthumous success. Through Mr. Callow’s book we can see Van Gogh’s life and work in terms of tumult, of a legend breaking out of the triumph and confusion of 19th-century culture while representing it uniquely. It is perhaps the story of a saint, certainly a hero of art.