Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith galvanized readers with their astonishing Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for biography, a book acclaimed for its miraculous research and overwhelming narrative power. Now Naifeh and Smith have written another tour de force—an exquisitely detailed, compelling, and ultimately heartbreaking portrait of creative genius Vincent van Gogh.
Working with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of previously untapped materials. While drawing liberally from the artist's famously eloquent letters, they have also delved into hundreds of unpublished family correspondences, illuminating with poignancy the wanderings of Van Gogh's troubled, restless soul. Naifeh and Smith bring a crucial understanding to the larger-than-life mythology of this great artist—his early struggles to find his place in the world; his intense relationship with his brother Theo; his impetus for turning to brush and canvas; and his move to Provence, where in a brief burst of incandescent productivity he painted some of the best-loved works in Western art.
The authors also shed new light on many unexplored aspects of Van Gogh's inner world: his deep immersion in literature and art; his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; and his bouts of depression and mental illness.
Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, and though the broad outlines of his tragedy have long inhabited popular culture, no serious, ambitious examination of his life has been attempted in more than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh's life with an astounding vividness and psychological acuity that bring a completely new and sympathetic understanding to this unique artistic genius whose signature images of sunflowers and starry nights have won a permanent place in the human imagination.
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A tour de force . . . an enormous achievement . . . [A] sweepingly authoritative, astonishingly textured book.
Los Angeles Times
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About the Authors
Gregory White Smith has coauthored many books on art and other subjects with Steven Naifeh. Smith and Naifeh’s biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also inspired the Academy Award-winning film Pollock starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as well as John Updike’s novel Seek My Face. Naifeh and Smith have been profiled in the New Yorker, the New York Times, USA Today, and People, and have appeared on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, and the Today show.
Steven Naifeh has written for art periodicals and has lectured at numerous museums, including the National Gallery of Art.
About Paul Heitsch
After producing, directing, and engineering spoken word recordings for over twenty years, Paul Heitsch began narrating audiobooks in 2011, and has recorded many bestselling titles as both himself and under a pseudonym. A classically trained pianist, Paul is also a composer and sound designer, and is currently the director of music for the James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance, and an adjunct instructor for the JMU School of Music. He and his family live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia (although Chicago will always be his hometown).