Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Complete with Vincent van Gogh's (1853-90) illustrious yellow chair; telling, blue-hued self-portraits; and many dreamy skies, this is both a feast for the eyes and a succinct introductory text to the paintings and life of the internationally celebrated Dutch postimpressionist artist. Erudite author Thomson (Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception) has published prolifically on impressionism and postimpressionist artists like Paul Gauguin and Edouard Vuillard. Yet she does not take the reader deep into art historical analysis in this picture-heavy (170 color illustrations) text; instead, her economical and straightforward language encourages readers to focus on the paintings, many drawn from the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The book's one drawback is that it competes with scores of other well-written and beautifully illustrated works about van Gogh and his paintings. Therefore, it is recommended only to libraries with art history collections that lack those kinds of books.-Jennifer Polluck, Yale Ctr. for British Art Lib., New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Thomson (Gauguin's Vision, 2005; Gauguin, 1987, "World of Art" series) offers a general survey of Van Gogh's paintings. This volume was produced by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, to accompany a book on the artist's drawings (Van Gogh: The Master Draughtsman, 2005, by S. van Heughten). Thomson's difficult task here is to provide both breadth and depth on a topic with a vast and growing literature. Not unexpectedly, the text falls a little short of the mark. Thomson chose an approach typical in the Van Gogh scholarship, in that she discusses Van Gogh's paintings in terms of a chronological and biographical progression from his early days, working for the art dealer Goupil et Cie, to his final days in Auvers-sur-Oise, where he painted some of his most celebrated landscapes. Though filled with beautifully written descriptive passages of the works and careful analysis of the artist's style, Thomson's work offers little by way of discussion of content, aside from occasional contextual connections made between the subject matter of the works and literary sources and commentary written in Van Gogh's letters. Despite its forgivable shortcomings, this book is a solid introduction to Van Gogh's paintings. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduates and general readers. D. E. Gliem Eckerd College