Taking the letters as its starting point, The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters views the paintings and drawings from the perspective of the correspondence. The letter sketches that Van Gogh frequently used to show a work in progress or a completed work are a fascinating part of the correspondence, and many are shown alongside the paintings or drawings on which they are based.
The majority of his letters were written to his brother Theo, an art-dealer who supported Vincent throughout his difficult artistic career. Vincent also wrote to other family members, including his sister Wilhelmina. Other artists, notably Anton van Rappard, Emile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, were also, at different phases of Vincent’s life, recipients of his letters. The originality of his ideas about art, nature and literature, combined with his deep understanding of these subjects, make Van Gogh's letters much more than a personal expression of feelings: they attain the status of great literature.
The exhibition celebrates the new edition of the artist’s correspondence Vincent van Gogh – The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition .
The result of fifteen years of scholarship by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum, the complete correspondence of Vincent van Gogh is published as a printed edition in three languages and as an integral web-edition, providing the worldwide public with a wealth of new information.
The exhibition is based on many insights that the new and extensive research into the letters has produced.