Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh

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Read Van Gogh: The Life Online Free - 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 While drawing liberally from the artist’s famously eloquent letters, they have also delved into hundreds of unpublished family correspondences, illuminating with poignancy the wanderings of Van Gogh’s troubled, restless soul.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.

Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, and though the broad outlines of his tragedy have long inhabited popular culture, 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 whose signature images of sunflowers and starry nights have won a permanent place in the human imagination.

868 pages of text, 953 pages with notes

Title : Van Gogh: The Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0375507485
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 950 pages


Charlie rated it ★★★★★

January 05, 2013

I've never read a book so thoroughly detailed. At times it felt like a day-by-day account of his 37 years. The book establishes early on that Van Gogh was at best "quirky" and at worst had a few disorders, but hey, who doesn't. I'm not a psychologist, but when you are sleeping with your walking s...

Nicole~ rated it ★★★★★

December 16, 2015

He expressed his truth in letters, and on canvas, immortalized a complex and beautiful soul.* Pulitzer-winning biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith have gleaned a thorough and insightful portrait of Vincent van Gogh, primarily from meticulous research of his extensive letters to his...

Jim rated it ★★★★★

September 20, 2014

By far the saddest biography I have ever read, VAN GOGH is also one of the most stirring and superbly detailed biographies I have ever read. That Vincent van Gogh's life was such a brutally painful and difficult one should not deter readers from embarking on this massive journey, yet the fact tha...

Hadrian rated it ★★★★★

January 07, 2012

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 te...

Greta rated it ★☆☆☆☆

August 27, 2014

I don't usually write such lengthy, or such scathing reviews but this time I feel compelled to. First of all I will say that once I picked up this book, I really couldn't put it down. It was an incredibly intriguing, detailed, and fascinating story of a man we all know and some of us love despite...

Belinda rated it ★☆☆☆☆

July 06, 2012

I am finally finished and spent a lot time skimming through chapters to avoid repeats, overblown accounts of everything, and dull negativity. I got sick of re-reading pages on the dysfunctional or negative relationships Vincent seemed to have with every man, woman, and child he ever met. How many...

kaśyap rated it ★★★★★

September 13, 2015

A very comprehensive biography of an intense and passionate man that provides a deep insight into his mind and creative process. A thoroughly researched portrait of Vincent's tragic life. Vincent initially comes off as an arrogant and self-destructive man. But he was as much a victim of the socie...

Tony rated it ★★★★★

October 31, 2011

VAN GOGH: The Life. (2011). Steven Haifeh and Gregory White Smith. *****. This massive biography of Van Gogh by the two authors who won a Pulitzer Prize for their biography of “Jackson Pollock,” was marvelously readable for a person not trained in the I have been to the Van Gogh Museum...

Ann rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 04, 2012

This biography was certainly a massive undertaking by award-winning authors. It's well-researched and well-written all right. But the underlying view of Vincent as a man with basically a horrible personality who created his own problems seems short-sighted and unfair. Are the authors re-doing the...

John rated it ★★★★★

November 30, 2011

It's no wonder to me now that these truly gifted biographers won the Pulitzer Prize for their life of Jackson Pollock, assuming, of course, that their prose is as "intense" as the writing in their most recent collaboration. After 300 pages, I haven't detected a sentence or a paragraph that fails t...

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