Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers.
Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers. Debra N. Mancoff. San Francisco:
Chronicle Books (800- 722-6657), 1999. Illus., hardcover, 94 pp.,
In this book the author concentrates on the last and most
productive years of Vincent van Gogh's life when his painting
interest focused on the beauty of nature. Filled with more than forty
color reproductions of his depictions of the natural world, we are
treated to details and full views of some of van Gogh's most
brilliant masterpieces. In the opening chapter, A Brief Life, we find
photographs, self-portraits, and early, paintings complemented with
well-written text that takes us through the turbulent formative years of
the artist. Subsequent chapters, Bouquets, Flowering Trees, Irises,
Sunflowers and Fields, present and discuss van Gogh's work in those
areas. Six different interpretations of sunflowers are reproduced and
discussed in the Sunflowers chapter. The text provides a nice balance
with comments on the artworks and on the various factors that influenced
van Gogh's style and subject matter. While the majority of works
reproduced fits into the context of the title, several of van
Gogh's masterworks on other subject matter -- The Bedroom at Aries,
Starry Night, Chair with Pipe and others are also shown for comparative
purposes. Works by Hiroshige, Utagawa, and Gauguin are also included.
The text is accompanied by insightful extracts from the artist's
letters to his brother Theo. Highly recommended.