On the Verge of Insanity

Van Gogh and His Illness

Nienke Bakker, Louis van Tilborgh, and Laura Prins; With contributions by Teio Meedendorp

View Inside Price: $30.00


September 6, 2016
176 pages, 7 1/4 x 9 1/2
90 color + 30 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300222456
HC - Paper over Board

Distributed for Mercatorfonds

Accompanying the groundbreaking exhibition currently at the Van Gogh Museum, this publication features new information on Van Gogh's self-inflicted wound to his ear as well as identifying the revolver that was likely used in his suicide

The mental state of Vincent van Gogh (1853--1890) has been a perennial source of discussion and conjecture since his death by suicide. Was he mentally ill or a genius? What was the precise nature of Van Gogh’s illness? Did it influence his work? This intriguing publication examines how Van Gogh’s mental condition revealed itself in 1888 and how he struggled with it throughout his life. Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo, his artist friends, and his sister Willemien reveal that his primary reason for living was his art.

Richly illustrated with artworks, letters, previously unpublished historical documents, and photographs, On the Verge of Insanity provides a nuanced and considered overview of an extraordinary man who had to cope with mental illness at a time when the symptoms were readily misunderstood and professional treatment was insufficient. The authors also offer a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding Van Gogh’s death in Auvers-sur-Oise, and they review the many diagnoses that have been proposed since the artist's death. 

Louis van Tilborgh is senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum and professor of art history, University of Amsterdam. Nienke Bakker is curator of Van Gogh Paintings, Teio Meedendorp is senior researcher, and Laura Prins is assistant researcher, all at the Van Gogh Museum. 

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Van Gogh Museum
(07/15/16–09/25/16)

"[A] wonderfully-crafted narrative . . . lavishly illustrated. . . . I was mesmerized by this exquisite primer . . . a postmortem treatment of the life and death of one of the most intriguing human beings who ever lived."—Aaron W. Hughey, Park City Daily News

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