Studio of the South
Van Gogh in Provence
by Martin Bailey
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 6 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2021
Quarto Publishing Group – White Lion, Frances Lincoln
Studio of the South tells the story of Van Gogh’s stay in Arles, when his powers were at their height.
For Van Gogh, the south of France was an exciting new land, bursting with life. He walked into the hills inspired by the landscapes, and painted harvest scenes in the heat of summer. He visited a fishing village where he saw the Mediterranean for the first time, energetically capturing it in paint. He painted portraits of friends and locals, and flower still life paintings, culminating in the now iconic Sunflowers. He rented the Yellow House, and gradually did it up, calling it ‘an artist’s house’, inviting Paul Gauguin to join him there. This encounter was to have a profound impact on both of the artists. They painted side by side, their collaboration coming to a dramatic end a few months later. The difficulties Van Gogh faced led to his eventual decision to retreat to the asylum at Saint-Remy.
Based on extensive original research, the book reveals discoveries that throw new light on the legendary artist and give a definitive account of his fifteen months in Provence, including his time at the Yellow House, his collaboration with Gauguin and its tragic and shocking ending.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
I adore Vincent Van Gogh. I’ve been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and insisted on visiting his grave in Auver-sur-Oise on a trip to France a couple years ago. I have not however been to Arles. This book is focused on Van Gogh’s 15 months in Provence during which he produced about 200 paintings. I believe that Martin Bailey works at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam so his knowledge of Van Gogh is extensive. The book is extremely well researched including quotes from both Vincent’s writings as well as interviews from people who knew him. The book itself is broken down into themes like the artists house, flowers, portraits of friends, fields, Gauguin, etc. Within each theme is an explanation of the artists inspiration and a discussion of the major works within the theme accompanied by a full color image of the work. I particularly enjoyed seeing the ink sketches and studies side by side with the paintings they would become. I had seen most of the paintings at the various museums I’ve been to, but many of the sketches were new. I also appreciated that photos of the people / areas near from near the same time period or other artist’s depictions of the same thing were included as a comparison to Van Gogh’s work. I do think the book was a bit wordy for the casual reader, but I found it all very interesting. This book would be a wonderful coffee table book. Thank you to NetGalley, Quarto Publishing Group, and Frances Lincoln Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. (bookstagram post coming July 7, 2021)
This is a most marvelous of books! Here's a peek... Some of the most pleasant of days of Vincent Van Gogh's life were spent in the "Studio of the South" (1888-1889 in Arles). It was a most idyllic time for him despite its being short-lived. When the canvas of good times rolled up, however, the highways and byways that once comforted and inspired him to paint a prolific plethora of paintings as seasons morphed into each other, became his crucible. His works were considered of little worth at the time, especially by the inhabitants of "the South," and sadly, those folks eventually came to think little of the man himself, as well. Nowadays, these same paintings have had a momentus transformation of perspective from art collectors and enthusiaists the world over, and now command the great respect and honor they deserve. It's a far cry from those days of mean things to his worth and work's value, today. The book, Studio of the South, written by Martin Bailey, paints a word picture of Van Gogh's life and masterpieces, as encapsulated above. Those unfamiliar with Van Gogh and his work will gain much insight and be impressed by the abundance of his work colorfully portrayed within the book's pages. Most, if not all the paintings are explained as to: of what they are composed, or why Van Gogh was madly spurred on to their creation (as much as can be concluded from collaboration from letters, documents and so on, to which the author had had access). Those readers already familiar with Van Gogh's work will be delighted once again, especially since there are some "first-time-to-be-seen" works included among those of which they may already admire. It's quite possible these readers would learn new things about the man and his work, and in their eyes, propel Van Gogh to further 'in-Vincent-ability' and posterity. Anyone who would purchase or be gifted this comprehensive biography with its outlay of paintings generously pictured, will not be disappointed. Slowly turn the pages, drink them in, savor the moods and seasons, and realize, especially, what it must have meant to the man behind the brush and palette. Enjoy your 'virtual' "visite de museum du Vincent Van Gogh". ~Eunice C. - Reviewer/Blogger~ <img src="https://www.netgalley.com/badge/cf2fce0010ac49470f7aaac163c019ba6fdcac19" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/> Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the review copy I recieved from the publishers. (Eunice C.)
Like so many others I can never see enough of paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. I have been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and see his works at most major and some minor museums in Europe, England and the USA. This book focuses on his prolific days in Arles, France. In only 444 days he completes around 200 paintings or about three a week. Martin Bailey tells what is going on with Vincent personally, timeframes for works and critiques them for composition. He quotes from letters to and from Van Gogh and interviews by others to document the time period. I especially enjoyed seeing early photos of Arles as it would have been seen by the artist. The book is broken downing to sections like The Artists House, Seascapes, Harvest Time, Portraits etc. I like that writer includes sketches occasionally side by side with the finished painting. He also includes photos of people along side their portrait if it exists. I found paintings I've never seen which adds to my list of museums to visit. I've been to Over-sur-Oise where Van Gogh spent his last days and is buried. Arles and Provence continue to be on my bucket list. The writing is knowledgeable and well documented. I've read two detailed biographies on Van Gogh and this meshes with what I know from them. It might be a bit too detailed for a casual reader. I think this is a beautiful coffee table book or gift for an art lover. Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group-White Lion for temporary ARC ebook in exchange for a honest review.
This book’s title is derived from Van Gogh’s description of his home in Arles. He lived there for 444 artistically productive days, leaving after the notorious incident with his ear. Intriguingly, the book’s author has a theory about why that happened when it did. This work is well-researched and engaging. It can be enjoyed by both serious art scholars and those who simply adore Van Gogh. The number of reproduced paintings is impressive and readers will enjoy studying them at leisure and learning more about them, the artist and those who knew him. This title is highly recommended. It offers readers an immersive and involving reading experience. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher . All opinions are my own.
This is an excellent book about Vincent van Gogh’s time in Provence in which he produced many of his critically acclaimed works. The author takes us through this time period chronologically, talking about Vincent, his life, his surroundings, his writings to Theo and Wil, his siblings, and his time spent with Gauguin. It is in Provence that he discovers that he wants to do series of works on the same subject like other artists such as Monet, Cezanne, and Katsushika Hokusai. His orchard series was completed from March 24 to April 20, 1888. It was van Gogh’s first exploration of Provence. The beauty of springtime in the countryside fired his imagination and motivated him into the belief of new beginnings. The author has divided this book into sections relating to van Gogh’s subject matter, which also correlates to a chronological timeline of his painting Provence and events leading up to his death. Each section is beautifully illustrated with fine examples of that particular subject matter. There are both paintings and pen and ink drawings by van Gogh, as well as paintings by Gauguin. Also reproduced for the text are postcards of locations, photos, and drawings by other artists. The author’s writing style is clear and concise, so reading is easy. The Timeline at the end of the book helps to re-state the facts in short form for the reader, and the map of Arles with points of interest is also helpful. Definitely a good book and one I can recommend. A big thank you to Quarto Publishing Group - White Lion, Martin Bailey, and NetGalley for allowing me to read the eGalley of this book. I am posting an honest review and have not received anything in return.
In art, to separate the life from the work is almost impossible, and with some artist is unimaginable, that is the case of Van Gogh. All the sorrow and conflicts in his mind and heart were deeply connected with the way he saw the world and the way he painted. But, sometimes people tend to concentrate in the most sadness times of him, forgettign the magic, the power, and the wonder he has. This book is a wonderful, moving oncoming to his times in Arles, in the memorable Yellow house and in this reality that was always mixed with dreams. For sure, one of the best books about him I have read. With amazing photos, postcards, and paints that have not been published before, filled with texts from his letters and with a very lovely, respectful and beautiful approach to his work, life, and pain. The way Martin Bailey have to talk about him is really cozy, beautiful, you feel as if a conversation flows, as a hot cup of chocolate in a rainy day. Thanks to netgalley for this copy!
I have always adored art and even think of myself as somewhat of an art aficionado - regardless of the fact I scraped through GCSE level with a C grade about 13 years ago, and my own artistic abilities are yet to be unearthed. Having said that, I feel a level of peace, calm, and comfort when reading about, watching about, talking about, and viewing artwork. If there’s a museum or art gallery about, I’m there! Especially if there happens to be any Van Gogh artwork present. His work is beautiful, not just in the literal sense of his brushstrokes, but in what his work does to us and means to us and makes us feel. I draw your attention to the Doctor Who episode “Vincent and the Doctor” (series 5, episode 10 - new who). In this classic episode, Bill Night’s character - a Van Gogh art expert - is asked to sum up, in one hundred words, where he thinks Van Gogh rates in the history of art. His response is as follows: “To me, Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of this tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray to ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.” We all know the horrors of Van Gogh’s life and career, but is there more to the man other than his depression and the fact he cut off his own ear? Martin Bailey dived into uncharted territory with this book, providing us with tons of unknown (at least to me) information on Van Gogh. He presents us with background information we already know, but furnishes it with new findings. This makes the book approachable and friendly, but informative. I love how Van Gogh uses a lot of yellow in his art work. I know this isn’t a comment on Bailey’s book as such, but he has chosen the most gorgeous pictures to portray this. It is amazing how many of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings were done in the last year or so of his life. It’s a shame to think of the brilliance we lost so early. It is thoroughly researched and expertly written so not to simply regurgitate fact after fact, it is informative but entertaining. It is clear to anyone, even after reading just one page, that Van Gogh is not just Bailey’s interest but also his passion.