From Publishers Weekly
Van Gogh's 22 letters to Émile Bernard, a fellow artist whom Van Gogh met in Paris, are significant in helping us understand the great masterpieces he would paint later, after his move to Arles. Since Bernard's side of the correspondence is lost, he plays the foil to the older, more experienced van Gogh, who elaborates on a philosophy of painting (in the end it's a question of expressing oneself powerfully), on the work he hopes to do (A starry sky, for example, well-it's a thing that I should like to try to do, just as in the daytime I'll try to paint a green meadow studded with dandelions) and on the influences of other great painters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. This lavish and complete presentation, published in association with New York's Morgan Library & Museum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, brings together color facsimiles of the letters, English translations alongside French transcriptions, notes and color reproductions of paintings mentioned in the correspondence and other complementary material. The volume creates an entire and delightful world around this highly readable correspondence-the kind of fine and exhaustive treatment it deserves. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
No one can fail to be totally and completely absorbed by this magnificent book produced by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker, the editors of the Van Gogh Letters project at the Van Gogh Museum, in collaboration with The Morgan Library and Museum in New York...Painted with Words is an exceptional work which brings van Gogh, the painter, writer and human being heart-rendingly close, showing that van Gogh's madness was that of a passionate genius whose paintings did not sell, whose doctors did not understand his illness, and who was insulted and cast out by a society whom he did not flatter. -- culturekiosque.com September 2007
VINCENT VAN GOGH, PAINTED WITH WORDS: THE LETTERS TO ÉMILE BERNARD edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luitjen and Nienke Bakker (Rizzoli, 384 pages; $50). Much more than a catalog, this book accompanying the Morgan Library & Museum's current exhibition includes lively English translations of van Gogh's spirited correspondence with his younger friend Bernard. While the paintings should be appreciated in person, the letters -- also transcribed in French and reproduced in facsimile -- work best in book form. Adorned with van Gogh's sketches, they begin with his move from Paris to the rural town of Arles in 1887 and end just a few months before his suicide in 1889. In impassioned and often coarse language, he celebrates earthly pleasures, extols Rembrandt, Courbet and Millet, and indulges in ecstasies of color. KAREN ROSENBERG -- New York Times 12/7/07