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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“When comparing Vincent van Gogh’s career with those of other artists, it soon becomes clear that his was one of the shortest in art history. It was not until the age of twenty-seven that he began work as a full-time professional painter, and he died a mere ten years later.” This is an interesting side note about the much-loved and appreciated artist, Vincent van Gogh. But what is it about this artist that attracts so many enthusiasts? Is it his short career? His wide range of subjects and artistic styles? Or is it the mystique behind his mental ailments? Whatever the attraction, this artist became, mostly posthumously, one of the leading figures in contemporary western art. Not surprisingly, there is at least one museum in the world totally dedicated to his memory and his art; the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Marko Kassenaar and Liesbeth Heenk have produced a thorough guide to the museum and the artist whose work it honors. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam: Highlights of the Collection (Amsterdam Museum Guides Volume 2) is another one in a series of fascinating and informative museum guides that document Amsterdam’s museums. The authors/historians give a concise background of the building and its De Stijl architect, Gerrit Rietveld, as well as tracing the provenance of the Van Gogh collection that it houses. There is a short biography of Van Gogh as well as a detailed look at the many works (including letters and other writings) by this artist in the museum’s collection. Beautifully presented with a keen eye for detail.