Van Gogh 100

Van Gogh 100

Van Gogh 100

Van Gogh 100

Synopsis

This volume commemorates the 100th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh's death by reexamining the painter's place in the art world of his time, the phenomenal growth in his reputation, and his influence on later art movements and individual artists. Among the topics examined by leading van Gogh scholars are iconography; van Gogh's poetry as well as the literature that influenced him and that he, in turn, influenced; psychological and religious aspects of van Gogh's painting and self-imaging; and how van Gogh has been interpreted. A section on his legacy in art concludes this major reassessment of van Gogh's place in art history.

Excerpt

Sometimes a scholar will rightly refrain from involvement with a subject, especially such a popular one, because it is not properly comprised within his or her "field." When, several years ago, I was gently conscripted to organize the conference of which these are the selected proceedings, I was indeed a longtime student of postimpressionism, but hardly a scholar of "Vincent" -- which usage, by the way, common in the literature, rhetorically echoes the attained fama of a Renaissance artist-hero. But my own teacher, Rudolf Wittkower, once said never to forget that to most people the history of art already sounds like a very specialized subject. Now I am pleased to be able to say that Hofstra, whose president, Dr. James M. Shuart, sustains an institutional commitment to art, proves to have produced the only major scholarly conference in the United States commemorating the death centenary of this vital progenitor of modernism. And if, after several years' work, I am still not a van Gogh "expert," at least I have the happy honor of offering here a collective contribution to the field after all, thanks to the learned participants whose writings make up this volume.

At the time of the centenary there was danger of the whole subject collapsing into the absurdly constrained specialization of something remote from at least any specifiably modern understanding of art, namely, Derrida on Heidegger on van Gogh's boots as the (sole) authorized topic. Looking back, it strikes me as curious that nobody seems to have taken up a certain essay by someone who was both a philosopher and a psychiatrist: Karl Jaspers ' Strindberg und van Gogh: Versuch einer pathographischen Analyse unter vergleichender Heranziehung von Swedenborg und Hölderlin (1922; rev. ed., 1949), which was briefly treated by J. P Hodin in Symbol and Chiffre in Art: A Meeting with Karl Jaspers (1957), in his Modern Art and the Modern Mind (1972).

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