Arts Everyday Living: Who is an Artist? Van Gogh’s Letters to the World

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Excerpt from Who is an Artist? chapter III of Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively.


Hundreds of letters still exist, preserved by Van Gogh’s sister-in-law following the death of Theo, only six months after Vincent’s suicide in 1890.  The collection is a bible, really, a revelation of an artist, not only about his works of art, but also his everyday life. His letters show us the link between the creative process and mundane functions such as eating, drinking, and sleeping, that all of us experience.  Through his writings Vincent gives us a vivid account of his daily surroundings and encounters, presenting himself not only directly, human being to human being, but also offering us timeless portrayals of his house, furnishings, his friends, and even his enemies.

Van gogh

Vincent van Gogh, Self portrait, 1887, oil on canvas, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

public domain In the U.S. public domain.

Book Cover through an artist's eyes 2

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