VINCENT AND THEO by Deborah Heiligman | Kirkus Reviews
In her stunning dual biography of the artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo, the author delivers a breathtaking portrait of their relationship. To ask other readers questions about Vincent and Theo, please sign up. up) of Vincent van Gogh's relationship with his brother Theo and the dynamics of their. Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers” written by Deborah Heiligman and published by Godwin Books/Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan.
How can I go to Laura with only one idea? It was a partly fictionalized story about Vincent and Theo. She said she had been thinking that somebody needed to write the longer, true version of their relationship.
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What was it about Van Gogh that grabbed you? Have you always loved his art? I have always loved his art. But Van Gogh was so famous that I had never thought about writing about him. How did you choose what to put in and what to leave out? With Charles and Emma I had a mantra: Everything that I put in had to be in service to that love story. So I put everything in the frame of that relationship—for example, Theo was telling Vincent to lighten up on his paintings and to use more colors, because Theo, being an art dealer, was seeing the new work of the Impressionists.
Those are the kinds of things somebody else would not have written about Van Gogh. What kind of input did Laura have on this book?
I was having some trouble early on with the book; it was the famous-person thing kicking me in the butt. So I showed Laura a first draft of about 90 pages of mess. It was kind of like a therapy session.
She gave me permission to tell the story I wanted to tell. One year later I handed in a complete first draft.
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers
While she had the manuscript, I had time away from it, which really helped. When I got it back, I was able to see it with a fresh eye. How long did it take to write? I started in and finished inso five years.
Now, I did other things in between, but it really did take a lot of time for me to make it my own.
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It was an amazing feeling. It was a hard book to write because it was so sad—I did a lot of crying while I was writing it. Their sadness, their loneliness—all that took a toll on me.
I became so attached to them. I think the story of their relationship speaks to how much we need people in our own lives to support us; we need connection and support. The book makes heavy use of their correspondence. Where are the Van Gogh letters kept? Fortunately, all the letters—that we know of—are available online. Many people have published editions of selected letters over the years. The first one I read was the poet W.
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Any picture Vincent references in the letters is shown in the book. This book is also available online—and constantly being updated—so I started by using that resource.
Then my husband gave me a gift of the actual six volumes. That was my main source; it was published in conjunction with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and whenever there was any question about anything, that was the source I trusted.
Are they in Dutch? The early ones are in Dutch, then the later ones are in French. I read them in translation, but I also had some help from a Dutch friend who is a translator and even did some translations for me.
Did you go to the Netherlands or France while you were working on the book? I thought long and hard about this. I had been to Amsterdam, Paris, and Arles in the past but I decided not to go back because I wanted the book to be about the emotional relationship. I thought traveling to the places he lived might get in my way.
On the other hand, I really wanted to know what it felt like to be an artist. So while I was working on the book I painted a lot of watercolors. I was doing hands-on research. In he received his first taste of the art world, while working at the gallery of art dealers Goupil et Cie in The Hague, London and Paris. He lost his love for art and decided to devote his career to becoming a minister for the poor and miners in the Borinage region.
Gradually he found his way back to art, supported by his brother Theo. In the "Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather" painting it is said that you can actually see grains of sand in the thickly applied paint. The Life and Art of Vincent van Gogh click to play it. Question by author kate He was the eldest of six siblings but his mother, Anna had given birth to a stillborn son, also called Vincent, on March 30, This was a coincidence that could possibly help to account for Vincent's morbidity later in life.
Van Gogh and Theo click to play it. Question by author robert The death of an infant child The first child born to the parents, Vincent Van Gogh, was stillborn. The man we know as Vincent Van Gogh was born one year later. Van Gogh click to play it. Question by author willywonka. He had an older brother who was stillborn. What happened in December of to lead to his self-mutilation? He was upset after an argument Only the argument with Gauguin actually ever happened.
He never married or had children, although he once wrote that he considered his paintings to be his children. Despite van Gogh's admiration for Gauguin, and his desire that the two of them set up an artists' colony, it seems that the relationship was strained due to clashes of temperament. Gauguin arrived to stay on October 23, ; the famous argument, during the course of which van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor, occurred on December 28, By the time van Gogh got back to their shared house after being treated in hospital for his injury, Gauguin had packed his things and left.
There is some debate as to whether van Gogh simply sliced off a bit of his earlobe, or removed the entire outer ear, or something in between. In fact, it has been suggested that it may have been done by Gauguin in the course of their argument!