Van Gogh: The Life


Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who galvanized readers with their Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Jackson Pollock, have written another tour de force—an exquisitely detailed, compellingly readable portrait of 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 to 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; and his move to Provence, where 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 erratic and tumultuous romantic life; his bouts of depression and mental illness; and the cloudy circumstances surrounding his death at the age of thirty-seven.
 
Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, 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.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Praise for Van Gogh: The Life
 
“Magisterial.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“This generation’s definitive portrait of the great Dutch post-Impressionist.”—Time
 
“A tour de force . . . an enormous achievement . . . Reading his life story is like riding an endless roller coaster of delusional highs and lows. . . . [A] sweepingly authoritative, astonishingly textured book.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Marvelous . . . [Van Gogh] reads like a novel, full of suspense and intimate detail. . . . In beautiful prose, Naifeh and Smith argue convincingly for a subtler, more realistic evaluation of Van Gogh, and we all win.”—The Washington Post
 
“Brilliant . . . At once a model of scholarship and an emotive, pacy chunk of hagiography.”—The Daily Telegraph (London)
 
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST • THE WALL STREET JOURNAL • SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE • NPR • THE ECONOMIST • NEWSDAY • BOOKREPORTER

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