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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Art in the late nineteenth century underwent many transitions as artists, most notably in France, strove to make their own mark on the world, to create a new style of expression that was completely their own. As the artistic geniuses of the time painted, argued and painted some more, they developed animosities and argued amongst their artist acquaintances. And that is how some of the legends evolved. Amidst the growing realm of artistic geniuses, Vincent Van Gogh emerged with a blatant style of rash colors and expressive techniques that challenged the minds of all who viewed his work. Not understood, nor appreciated during his lifetime, the stories that surrounded his mystique, like his madness and the event of cutting off his ear, magnified after his suicide, pushing his art into the spotlight. For one family, the postmaster’s family who knew this artist, a family whom this artist painted, Van Gogh’s life becomes a journey of discovery, particularly for the son, Armand Roulin, on leave from the army, who undertakes a task to find all of Van Gogh’s paintings and letters and to collect what stories he can.
Les Furnanz has taken the stories and legends of a very complex nineteenth-century artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and developed a plausible and enjoyable plot to entice readers to learn more about this man. Finding Vincent is an exemplary art historical novel that takes the approach of one man’s (Armand's) journey on a quest to research the artist. The characters are real, for the most part historical figures that had a connection with the artist. As the main character, Armand, visits the many people, both artists and other acquaintances, another part of the mystical character of this fascinating artist unravels. The story captivates the reader as the author throws in a little bit of romance. A great read, compelling, thought provoking and well researched. An interesting way to learn about Vincent Van Gogh, his life and his art.