9780865591943: Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South

The personal and professional history of Van Gogh and Gauguin constitutes one of the most dramatically revealing sagas in the history of modern art. Over the last few decades Gogh and Gauguin have received a prodigious amount of scholarly attention. Recent contributions to this literature have expanded our knowledge significantly. But while references to their problematic interaction abound, sustained analysis of their mutual influence has yet to be the subject of a major study. This book, published on the occasion of a landmark exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Van Gogh Museum, systematically explores the relationship in the context of the larger cultural and political background implied in their ideas for a 'Studio of the South'. It charts the connections between the two men through their stay together in Provence and beyond to Vincent's death in 1890. A final section considers the remainder of Gauguin's career, both in Tahiti and the Marquesas (where he died in 1903), as an attempt to realize the ideals of the 'Studio of the South' developed with Van Gogh and shaped by his posthumous reputation.

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About the Author:

Douglas Druick is Curator of Prints, Drawings and European Painting, and Peter Kort Zegers is Research Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. Andreas Bluhm is Head of Exhibitions and Louis van Tilborgh is Curator of Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

From Publishers Weekly:

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 nonfans 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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Douglas W. Druick, Peter Zegers, Bruce Salvesen, Kristin Hoermann Lister, Mary C. Weaver, Britt Salvesen, Art Institute of Chicago (Corporate Author), Rijksmuseum Vincent Van Gogh (Corporate Author)
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ISBN 10: 0865591946 ISBN 13: 9780865591943
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