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Reviews of Van Gogh's Gardens

Book Profile
Author (1): Derek Fell

Hardcopy edition:
Publish date: April 2001
Published by: Simon & Schuster
List price: $35.00
ISBN Number: 0743202333

Categories:

Hard-cover

  Garden Bookworm editor's notes:  
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most popularly admired and critically acclaimed artists of all time -- exhibitions of his work draw record crowds and his paintings fetch astronomical prices. Of his hundreds of canvases, landscapes and paintings of gardens and flowers remain the most beloved. From the sweeping wheat fields and gnarled olive branches of Provence to extravagant bouquets and fantastic details of irises and sunflowers, van Gogh captured the breathtaking beauty, expansive color spectrum, and complexity of nature at its most compelling.

Using van Gogh's eloquent personal letters and dazzling paintings as his foundation, writer and master photographer Derek Fell brings van Gogh's theories and visions of the garden to life in this lavishly illustrated volume. Fell's own expert photography not only captures the countryside, farmland, cottage gardens, and village parks that van Gogh so passionately loved but also brings to life the horticultural world that the artist dreamed of creating. Complemented by a superb selection of his greatest paintings, Van Gogh's Gardens is a marvelous celebration of nature's brilliance and one man's genius.

Searching out fragments of van Gogh's world still in existence -- the sunflower fields he tramped through, the courtyard garden of the hospital where he sought treatment -- Fell shows us that the colors and textures of the Impressionists' Provence remain with us today. He also delves deeply into the letters van Gogh wrote and gives us a wonderful discussion of the artist's color theories: Mix geraniums and poppies to create a stunning combination of red, pink, and green, he advised his sister in Holland, or interplant sweet heliotrope and roses to generate a dramatic color harmony between orange and violet.

Fell extrapolates on van Gogh's vision of gardens and plants by going one step further -- and the result is a revelation. Rigorously following the advice offered in van Gogh's letters and duplicating the garden motifs he depicted in his paintings, this exceptional gardener has brought the great artist's ideas to vibrant life on his Pennsylvania farm. Van Gogh died in abject poverty, too poor to plant a garden of his own -- but Fell's plantings and photographs show us in dazzling glory how brilliant van Gogh's reflections on color and nature really were.

In addition to offering special sections on van Gogh's favorite structures, his bouquets, and the theme gardens he painted, Van Gogh's Gardens includes a fully illustrated, alphabetical listing of the painter's favorite plants -- from arum to yucca. Both exquisitely beautiful and eminently useful, this marvelous book offers readers the opportunity to create van Gogh's artistic beauty in their own backyards. With a brilliant mix of paintings, photographs, and text, Van Gogh's Gardens allows us to see this master artist's paintings and theories as inspiration for the most beautiful gardens.

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