Select one of the keywords
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles    by Martin Gayford order for
Yellow House
by Martin Gayford
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

From October to December of 1888 two of the world's most famous artists shared a house in the south of France, long before each had become famous. Both Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin lived together in a small yellow house, working, talking, and learning from each other. Just two months after Gauguin moved in to Van Gogh's house, Van Gogh slipped further into his psychological crisis, ultimately slicing off part of his ear and becoming institutionalized. Martin Gayford's book The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles, chronicles the artists' lives together and Van Gogh's struggles against his mental illness.

Interspersed throughout the book are snippets of letters from the artists to their friends and relatives, along with pictures of their paintings. The author interprets the paintings for the reader, shedding new light into dimly lit art corners. As the reader turns the pages, it is unfortunately obvious that Van Gogh's mental state is unraveling. Gayford makes a good case that Van Gogh suffered from bipolar disorder, and explores other possibilities for what plagued the tragic, yet brilliant artist. The book fascinatingly juxtaposes Paul Gauguin against the setting of Van Gogh's misery, as the two friends struggle to maintain their daily lives.

Gayford's work as an art critic lends an artistic and historical background to these two towering personalities whom he depicts. The reader is fully drawn to both Gauguin and Van Gogn as Gayford's pencil gives them texture and depth. He breathes life into their colors and paintings, doing credit to the men he portrays, both of whom saw the world in color like no one else had before.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews