Vincent van Gogh: The Letters
All the surviving letters written and received by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) are contained in this edition of his correspondence.11. Over and above the 902 surviving letters, there must have been at least 550 letters written to Van Gogh, and at least 290 letters written by Van Gogh that we no longer have (see Correspondents, Lost correspondence). Excepting only the digital form in which they are now being published, this is the continuation of a long tradition.
The first broadly-conceived edition appeared in 1914, when Jo van Gogh-Bonger published Vincent van Gogh. Brieven aan zijn broeder in three volumes and opened up the nucleus of the correspondence to the general public. It was followed by translations and separate supplementary publications. In 1952-1954 all the correspondence known at that time was brought together by Jo’s son, V.W. van Gogh, in the monumental, four-volume work Verzamelde brieven van Vincent van Gogh. This in turn was translated into several languages, providing a further boost to the already increasingly international research into Van Gogh. In 1990 the Van Gogh Museum seized the opportunity presented by the commemoration of the centenary of Van Gogh’s death to produce a completely new edition that included finds made since the publication of the 1952-1954 edition. The approach, too, was new. No longer were the letters arranged by correspondent as – broadly speaking – they had been in the earlier editions, and each letter had a date derived to a significant extent from Jan Hulsker’s pioneering work in this area. Unlike its predecessors, however, this edition presented all the letters in modern Dutch, including those originally written in French and the few written in English; Van Gogh’s nineteenth-century spelling in the Dutch letters was modernized.