Vincent van Gogh produced over 2000 works of art during his short career, but did not achieve fame as an artist until after his death. He led a troubled life, dealing with commercial failure, difficult personal relationships and eventually mental illness, culminating in his suicide in 1890. He made little money from his art during his lifetime, but his paintings are now some of the best-known and most expensive works in the world. The first half of this fascinating new book contains a detailed exploration of van Gogh's life, including his background, early career, influences and relationships. Beginning with his birth in the Netherlands in 1853, it details his childhood, family life, education and work-life before he began painting in 1880. Initially influenced by the Impressionist artists whose work he encountered during his time in Paris, van Gogh played a huge role in shaping the development of modern art, as an early pioneer of what came to be known as Expressionism. His influences and achievements are explained clearly and comprehensively with informative and attractive illustrations throughout. The second half of the book comprises a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive gallery, presenting over 280 full colour representations of his significant works, from his early sketches and paintings to the hugely famous Sunflowers, Irises and The Starry Night. These superb reproductions are accompanied by thorough analysis of each painting and its significance within the context of van Gogh's life, his technique and his body of work as a whole. This comprehensive new book is an essential volume for anyone who wants to learn more about this intriguing artist, and to survey their greatest works in one beautfully illustrated collection.
Michael Howard is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also a practising artist and has exhibited at the Royal Academy, Duke's Oak Gallery, New York Art Fair and the Manchester Metropolitan University. His previous books include The Treasures of Monet (Musee Marmatton).