Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Monday, August 03, 2009

"A link in the chain of artists"

"In the fullness of artistic life there is, and remains, and will always come back at times, that homesick longing for the truly ideal life that can never come true." --Van Gogh

Although I have enjoyed letters by various writers and artists, it is Van Gogh's that I love best, and I have just realized that they are online, along with many images and other materials at http://www.vggallery.com/ . . .
Credit: Exhibition poster, "Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amersterdam" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

15 comments:

  1. thank you, what a lovely link

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  2. Not many people realize that Van Gogh was also one of the finest writers of the 19th century in Europe. I have the three-volume boxed set of his letters, and they are by turns brilliant and heartbreaking and filled to the brim on every page with love, suffering, doubt, and joy. I had no idea they were now online. What a gift to us all! The best short compilation remains Dear Theo, Irving Stone's edited compilation.

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  3. Hello jarvenpa and Phil, you sympathetic souls! Yes, they are quite wonderful. So glad that he had a Theo.

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  4. I know some of the Van Gogh letters, but thanks for the tip Marly, because this is the most wonderful and unexpected resource. I shall have to ration myself. Some of what he writes is so heartrending... and indeed to an artist, familiar... that there are times I know I'd find them difficult to read. The site is a staggering achievement, and all done by an individual, and therefore presumably funded out of a private pocket, rather than aided by the resources of an institute. A shame that there have to be advertisements tacked to the edges of images in the galleries, but I presume such an ambitious undertaking must require considerable support, and that perforce must be taken from where it can be found.

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  5. Hello, Clive--

    Yes, I daresay he expresses moods that have come to all makers of the arts, both in darkness and in light. Heartrending. Joyous.

    The parasailing elderly aunt and the cousins have flown away... More anon.

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  6. Thanks Marly! I bookmarked it. I am in for a treat, I can see, having never read VG's letters, only enjoyed his paintings.
    I must have missed something about the parasailing aunt!!!

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  7. So many wonderful things to read...

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  8. Hello Lucy and Robbi--

    Hope you enjoy!

    My parasailing aunt: must've twittered about that one. She parasailed for the first time on her 90th birthday. And has since!

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  9. What a wonderful aunt! She sounds rather like my father, though he has fallen a bit silent and still now. It makes me sad. I think he's giving up.
    I have been reading those letters, and they are so moving. Thanks again.

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  10. Robinka,

    Yes, my former image of your father is far more gingery and peppery than what I see now. It is sad to see disease or age shut up a father's nature in a box.

    Those letters are grand.

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  11. Marly,
    I just saw Ponyo. Really loved it! I think you have mentioned Mizayaki before. Have you seen it yet?

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  12. My daughter will be so jealous! No, we were hoping it would come somewhere near us...

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  13. By the way, go read my story, "Phone Games," on the blog. I was thinking about you and that experience you told me about so long ago, at Hollins, though this was something that actually happened to me.

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  14. Just in case you weren't aware, a new multi-volume collection of VG's letters was recently published and the entire, fully annotated and illustrated corpus has been put online. It took me a while, but I ended up deciding it was one of the best websites I've ever encountered.

    And if I might offer a self-link, I compiled a selection of his letter illustrations here.

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  15. Hey, thanks!

    People named Paul who are from Australia are, so far in my experience, interesting...

    Shall take a look. Two looks!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.