Van Gogh’s Enduring Legacy
by William J. Havlicek & David A. Glen
In this volume, Glen and Havlicek illuminate the years after the deaths of both Vincent and Theo during which Johanna, left with a vast collection of drawings, paintings, and letters, set about preserving them as Vincent’s legacy. She achieved this against almost insurmountable odds in a time when women were not respected in business, especially as art dealers in the lofty salons of Paris. Yet her successful promotion of Vincent’s art (indeed, of his very character) is a testament to her indomitable spirit.
In Van Gogh’s Enduring Legacy, Glen and Havlicek furthermore bring to light the prestigious patronage of Helene Kröller-Müller, the wife of a wealthy industrialist, who was to accumulate the second-largest collection of Van Gogh drawings and paintings in the world, now displayed in the renowned Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. Set against the background of the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression, and beset by personal loss and tragedy, Helene Kröller-Müller unveiled her extraordinary collection of art to the general public just shortly before her death.
Helene, like Johanna before her, freely lent Vincent’s paintings to museums and important exhibitions. She secured Vincent’s reputation in America with the first critically acclaimed shows of his work in Chicago in the 1930s. The Kröller-Müller collection and the Van Gogh Foundation’s collection (exhibited in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam) together form an astonishing bequest by two extraordinary women and their uncommon advocacy of Vincent’s art and writings long after his death. Helene, who also was a proponent and patron of the early modernists, recognized how essential Van Gogh’s aesthetic example was not only to Piet Mondrian but to a legion of artists yet to come.
This volume also reveals several private letters by Claude Monet written in the same years that he and Van Gogh were active as progressive landscape painters. The years 1886 – 1890 are contrasted and compared to give the reader an understanding of the mutual struggles that contemporary Impressionist painters encountered. Monet’s private letters are generally unknown to the public, and offer important similarities to Van Gogh’s own account of his progress as a leading painter of his time. A central theme of this book will address the issue of quality and creative achievement in the context of our present era, where values in art are much contested. The question of why Van Gogh remains as one of history’s most beloved of artists begs an answer. Recent discoveries in the field of Cognitive Aesthetics and other sources on Van Gogh’s cultural and creative achievement are given careful consideration.
This beautifully illustrated and well-researched four-volume anthology is a literary tour de force, and is the most comprehensive and definitive story of Vincent van Gogh’s life, and that of the remarkable Johanna who, through her dedicated actions, was to forever change the history of art.
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William J. Havlicek
and David A. Glen
170 mm x 242 mm
softcover with French flaps
244 pages with 80+ color plates
LIMITED-ISSUE, FIRST EDITION
Available as individual volumes
or as a 4-volume anthology.
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