The best source of information on the life and works of Vincent van Gogh would have to be the two catalogue raisonné books which offer reproductions and insights into each and every one of Van Gogh's more than 2,200 works. Each of these two catalogues has its own merits: the de la Faille is incredibly thorough and includes all provenance and exhibition information. The Hulsker book doesn't include this, but--unlike the de la Faille--Hulsker provides ongoing commentary and analysis of the works. In addition, the Hulsker catalogue has the advantage of being twenty-six years more up to date.
A third catalogue raisonné of Van Gogh's works was published in 2002: Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Works. This catalogue, issued on CD-ROM, is more up-to-date than either the de la Faille or the Hulsker and, unlike these resources, includes colour images of the majority of Van Gogh's works. An advanced search feature, including full exhibition and provenance details for each art work, is included.
- The Works of Vincent van Gogh: His Paintings and Drawings by Dr. Jacob Baart de la Faille (J.M. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1970): The de la Faille catalogue raisonné is a fully revised and updated version of the original 1928 work (compiled by an editorial committee and not Dr. de la Faille himself, who died in 1959). Viewed by most to be the definitive scholarly work on Van Gogh's works, this book is absolutely essential for any serious Van Gogh library. Though The Works of Vincent van Gogh is now out of print, it's not yet a rare book and can be found in some of the better used bookstores. Expect to pay between $100-150 U.S. for a copy in good shape and with dust jacket. Even if it were twice that price, however, this invaluable book would still be a bargain.
- The New Complete Van Gogh: Paintings, Drawings, Sketches by Jan Hulsker (J.M. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1996): Without question one of the very best reference books available for a complete exploration of Van Gogh's works. Over 2,185 reproductions are included. This book was released in October, 1996 and has proven to be absolutely invaluable to me. Dr. Hulsker is, without question, a giant in the field of Van Gogh scholarship. I can't recommend this beautiful and incredibly thorough book highly enough. A must have.
- The Van Gogh Museum is home to the world's largest collection of Van Gogh's works. In 1996 the Van Gogh Museum issued the first of an eight volume catalogue raisonné of its own collection. So far four volumes have been published:
The Van Gogh Museum is doing an absolutely outstanding job in the compilation of these catalogues. The graphics are unsurpassed and the details of each work far exceeds even the de la Faille and the Hulsker combined. These volumes are also current so even the most recent exhibitions and the newest insights are included. Highly recommended.
- Over the years the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, home to the world's second largest collection of Van Gogh works, has released catalogues of their collection. These catalogues, though informative and a valuable reference, were nevertheless fairly small with most of the images of the works in black and white. Finally the Kröller-Müller has published a catalogue of their Van Gogh works that's worthy of their outstanding collection. The Paintings of Vincent van Gogh in the Collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum (Stichting Beeldrecht, Hoofddorp: 2003) is an excellent overview of the eighty-eight paintings at the Kröller-Müller. Detailed exhibition and provenance information accompanies each work as well as an in depth historical and stylistic analysis. The images are first-rate--among the best ever published. A must have for anyone with an appreciation for the masterpieces in this superb collection.
To order, contact the Kröller-Müller Museum book shop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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