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Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh Paperback – September 1, 1995


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Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh + Lust for Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452275040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452275041
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''An extraordinary book . . . and a great one.'' --New York Times

''A great book, the greatness of a man in his own words.'' --Nation --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Language Notes

Text: English

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Customer Reviews

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Purchased this book during my Van Gogh stage in my painting.
Anita M. H. S.
While it's true that a modern day tragedy is revealed here even more so we can witness a courageous triumph of the spirit over adversity in the extreme.
DekeZ@webtv.net
I gave this as gift to my mother who has told me that she is reading it very slowly.
Jeanne Balukas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By The roofer on April 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I, like the many reviewers of this book, was enthralled and inspired by this collection of letters when I first read it 25 years ago. I have recommended it to many friends. At the time I would have given it five stars or even more if they were available. Irving Stone writes in his preface "My aim has been to edit the 1670 pages of material down to a swiftly flowing, continuous normal-sized book..." He succeeded but even 25 years ago I was a little disturbed by the complete absence of indications where exactly Mr. Stone had done his cutting, or his editing. Today, in the age of internet we can now do some easy checking. The unabridged letters are on the net and reveal that basically what this Dear Theo is, is another novel written by Irving Stone. There is almost no resemblance to the original letters. The novelist has used his talents and the raw material to create a beautiful saga. Worth reading, but let the reader beware.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Williams on October 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Dear Theo" should be mandatory reading for all students of fine art today, as no modern artist injected a level of passion into their work equal to that of Van Gogh in 1880 through 1890. This volume is a sort of highlight reel of Vincent's comments on his life and art to his beloved brother Theo. I recommend "The Complete Van Gogh" published by Taschen to accompany "Dear Theo", as there are no visual examples of Vincent's art aside from the cover included in this book. No one who appreciates fine art will be sorry to invest in either publication.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
The book provides an excellent cross-section of letters painting a vivid picture of Van Gogh's life. It is not an all-in-one biography, though, in that Van Gogh makes references to work that only curators and art historians can picture. It would have been nice to have a black and white thumbnail of the finished paintings as Van Gogh wrote of them.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DekeZ@webtv.net on December 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Irving Stone introduced much of the world to Vincent Van Gogh through his superb bio/novel'Lust For Life'but here it's the artist himself that tells the moving,dramatic story that no fictive acount can touch.While Stone's editorial gifts are considerable the true star of this important compilation is of course the 'Author'.We discover within these pages a mind,a heart,and a soul that shine with an intensity rivaled only by the masters own glowing canvases.An artist who 'paints'with words as effectively as with a brush is a rarity.When Vincent describes an observed scene we feel as though we are there.When he begs,cajoles and pleads with brother Theo for more funds for'the work'we sense that it is the artists life itself that is at stake.While it's true that a modern day tragedy is revealed here even more so we can witness a courageous triumph of the spirit over adversity in the extreme. There are few human documents that speak so directly to one as this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eolake on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is not as easy a read as Stone's van Gog biography Lust For Life, but for fans, it's a deep book.

Vincent tells of how he went into the fields to paint, and then a rain storm came. He sought meager shelter behind a big tree while it lasted, and then resumed. And because he had started with a low vantage point, he now had to stand on his knees in the mud! He seems to merely mention this to point out why he considers common workman's clothes to be the artist's best friend...

He also tells how he went out to paint the sea, in a storm so strong he could barely stay on his feet. One painting got so full of sand from the beach that he went to a nearby inn and retouched it... and then went back out into the storm to finish it with fresh impressions!

Today, most of us: "Go out with the camera today? Nah, it's a bit nippy, and I just got the Sopranos on DVD..."

Irving Stone edited Dear Theo, and while he may have done a good job generally, I think it was a disservice to the material to not indicate where he cut it. It is just one long text, no dates and no indication where each quote starts or ends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo shortly after I saw the Van Gogh exhibit in Washington, DC. The effect was overwhelming. So much pain. So much loneliness. So much genius! We all are the richer for his pain and his poverty!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By v-kausb@microsoft.com on August 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
A triumph of a book, a definitive and soulful look into the life and times of one of the greatest painters since the inception of cave painting. I could feel the Artiste's loneliness, his eccentricity, his passion for colours, his love for humanity and the innate tragedy of his unhappy life. A book which can occupy you for days after you have finished reading it. A prize buy.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
These letters speak the truth of van Gogh. This book opens a window of knowledge on a man so misunderstood to the world. At 14, I absolutely am in love with this book. "Dear Theo" has ignited a fire in my soul, a burning desire to study art and the men behind the works.
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