Note on Sources

It was originally our intention to include a bibliography of all of the sources we used to help understand Vincent van Gogh’s life within the printed version of the book. However, once the notes themselves surpassed 5,000 pages, and the sources began to number in the thousands, we decided instead to print a “Selected Bibliography” in the book, and publish everything else online. The “Selected Bibliography” only contains books, exhibition catalogues, journal articles, and articles from edited books that we directly cite or quote from in the text of the book. This tough decision was ultimately reached due to a lack of space to include all of the sources we used to write Van Gogh: The Life.

While the “Selected Bibliography” is just that, a selection of sources used, we are very pleased to be able to present to you, via the website, a complete list of all of the sources used to compile the research that went into this book. As you will see, the “Sources” section of the website offers to users the “Selected Bibliography,” along with “Chapter Bibliographies” that relate to each individual chapter in the book, and a “Subjective Bibliography,” which presents our list of suggested readings by subject matter related to Vincent van Gogh.

Though the sources are vast, and all serve important purposes, this research could not have been completed without Vincent’s own letters. We are very lucky that so many letters survive and that his own sister-in-law, Jo Bonger-Van Gogh, translated all of the letters herself in the early twentieth century. In addition to the incredible work Jo completed in her own time, the Van Gogh Museum also recently finished the daunting and very impressive task of retranslating all of Vincent’s letters. This work has culminated in the definitive collection of Vincent’s own letters to his family and friends. The Van Gogh Museum’s Complete Letters was published in 2009 and is accessible at:

In addition to Vincent’s personal letters, we also could not have written this book without the assistance of the archives at the Van Gogh Museum. Previously unpublished quotes from letters written between the family members, helped to provide a more balanced view on Vincent’s life. We are indebted to the assistance we received from the Van Gogh Museum, who freely gave us access to their archives. Click for more information on the archives.

For additional questions on any sources used or cited in the book or on this website, please contact us at: