Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers
by Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov

The beauty and poignancy of Van Gogh's final years, as seen through his paintings and personal records.

Vincent van Gogh arrived in Arles, in the south of France, on February 20, 1888, hoping that the tranquility and warmth of the Midi would restore his failing health and ease his melancholy. During the next thirty months, Van Gogh experienced the most intensely productive period of his life, painting some 400 works, including several versions of his blazing Sunflowers, his timeless Night Café, living landscapes, haunting portaits, and brilliant still lifes. His artistic quest ended tragically in Auvers when, on July 27, 1890, he shot himself, dying two days later with his brother by his side. In this magnificent volume, we journey with the artist from Arles to the asylum at Saint-Rémy and finally to Auvers, from despair through hope to his final rest.

Van Gogh in Provence and Auvers includes almost 300 colorplates and 60 black-and-white illustrations that present a portrait of Van Gogh the artist, and uses beautiful colored and textured paper and die-cuts for the chapter openers. Van Gogh's own words, placed together with preparatory sketches for his works and vintage postcards and photographs, enhance an insightful text.

In Arles, Van Gogh reveled in color, painting almost 200 works. It was here that Van Gogh's sunflower came to full blossom, all seven of which are included in this volume, even one destroyed in Yokahama during the Second World War. Other lost or rarely represented images are also here, and provide further evidence of this artist's singular vision.

Seeking rest from the demons that continually tormented him, Van Gogh left Arles in the spring of 1889 and entered the asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Mausole, where he completed 142 works, including The Starry Night. He painted inside the asylum and outside in the open air, the gnarled olive tree and the symbolic, somber cypress becoming ubiquitous in his work. During his final trip to Auvers, in the North, Van Gogh feverishly poured his ecstasy and hunger for life into his last 70 canvases. It is there he painted Crows over the Wheat Field. Relentlessly torn between an irresistible will to create and his inexorable drive toward self-destruction, Van Gogh never stopped painting.


10 3/4 x 14 in., 304 pages
ISBN: 0-88363-698-0

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