A TRILOGY IN FULL COLOR

Told in three dynamic episodes, this is the story of the remarkable
Johanna who, after his death, was 
Vincent van Gogh’s most ardent advocate,
and whose astute and steadfast actions
 forever changed the history of art.

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Authors David A. Glen and William J. Havlicek, in their new, full-color 360-page trilogy, have produced the most comprehensive and factual account of the life and legacy of the illustrious artist, Vincent van Gogh, drawing from the hundreds of letters between Vincent and his benevolent brother Theo, and most importantly from the diaries and correspondence of one of history’s most remarkable women, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger. And this literary tour de force finally dispels much of the myth and conjecture that has come to surround the artist’s tumultuous life.

Johanna was Vincent’s sister-in-law, and Theo’s wife. After the deaths of Vincent and Theo, who both died in their 30s and within a year of each other, Johanna became the keeper and advocate of Vincent’s immense collection of drawings and studio materials that had been left to her young son and heir, also named Vincent. Johanna was to single-handedly preserve and chronicle over 520 hand-written letters (eventually more than 900 would come to light) without which we would never have understood the devoted relationship and interdependence Vincent had with his brother Theo, nor the remarkable beneficence that lay at the very core of the Van Gogh family as a whole. Most importantly, we might never have known the true nature and accomplishments of the extraordinary Vincent van Gogh.

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Glen and Havlicek have carefully researched letters and documents that accurately portray Johanna as a woman whose indomitable and tenacious spirit met with great antipathy in a time when women were not welcome in the world of art dealing. Yet her steadfast determination and stamina were soon to attract the attention of principal art dealers, including the renowned Cassirer and Bremmer, who were to orchestrate the sale of a large number of Van Gogh paintings and drawings to the affluent collector Helene Kroller-Muller. These now comprise the second-largest collection of Van Gogh’s artwork, now on display in the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. Helene Kroller-Muller’s collection of Vincent’s art also plays a fascinating role in the saga of a wealthy German family’s fall from grace in post-war Holland.

Johanna’s ardent advocacy, and that of the caring and steadfast Theo, together with the prestigious patronage of Helene Kroller-Muller, are inextricably tied to the very existence of one of history’s artistic icons in the person of Vincent van Gogh. Glen and Havlicek, in three vibrant episodes, demonstrate that Johanna, through her dedicated action and commitment to preserving Vincent’s legacy, was to forever change the history of art.

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