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True to Temperament: Van Gogh and Naturalist Literature

Sund, Judy

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ISBN 10: 0521410800 / ISBN 13: 9780521410809
Published by March 27, 1992, Cambridge [England] ; New York, 1992
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Monroe Street Books (Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.)

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336 pages, b&w illustrations, 16 color plates. Blue cloth covers w/ gilt lettering on spine. Very light edge wear to dust jacket. Else a very clean, tight copy. Record # 452337. Bookseller Inventory # 452337

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Bibliographic Details

Title: True to Temperament: Van Gogh and Naturalist...

Publisher: March 27, 1992, Cambridge [England] ; New York

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Van Gogh's fascination with contemporary literature has never been studied as comprehensively as it is in this book, which includes an analysis of Van Gogh's reading habits. The author demonstrates that the Dutch painter considered modern French literature the epitome of cutting edge cultural production, and argues that the work and pronouncements of the writers he most admired - Zola, Maupassant, Daudet, and the Goncourt brothers - informed his notion of modernism by providing entree into the world of the Parisian avant-garde. The painter's production and his predilection for Naturalist prose are shown to be decisively linked and mutually reinforcing. Though Van Gogh believed reading was 'a matter of importance that greatly influenced one's work', he resolutely avoided the anecdotal and illustrational in his art. Nonetheless, his oeuvre is marked by his literary pursuits, and this book reveals the multiple and often subtle ways in which non-narrative imagery evokes beloved texts. It contributes to the investigation of artistic correspondance in the late nineteenth century, and explodes prevailing assumptions by exploring the allusive, 'Symbolist' dimensions of naturalist practice.

From Library Journal:

This scholarly study, based on the author's doctoral dissertation at Columbia University, centers on a well-known but little explored aspect of Van Gogh's artistry: the manner in which his visual oeuvre conceptualized his intense literary pursuits. Supporting her reasoning by citing the artist's extensive correspondence, especially with his brother, Theo, Sund (art, Queens Coll.) demonstrates that late 19th-century French Naturalist writers, notably Zola, Daudet, the Goncourt brothers, and Maupassant, had a profound influence on Van Gogh, whose nonnarrative imagery reflected their ideas. This fascinating, highly readable analysis probes the mind and soul of the complex, tormented artist and provides further understanding of his creativity. Recommended to knowledgeable lay readers as well as scholars, even though the paucity of illustrations (16 half-page color plates and 57 black-and-white reproductions) limit its appeal.
- Joan Levin, MLS, Chicago
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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