Van Gogh Up Close Cornelia Homburg

Publication date:
15 Feb 2012
Yale University Press
306 pages: 279 x 241mm
200 color illus.
Sales territories:

This sumptuously illustrated book offers a completely new way of looking at the art of Vincent van Gogh, by exploring the artist's approach to nature through his innovative use of the close-up view. Focusing on the last years of the artist's career - from 1886 until his death in July 1890 - an international team of leading scholars in the field examines Van Gogh's radical approach to the close-up and sets it in the context of contemporary and historical references, such as his hitherto unrecognized use of photography and his fascination with the Old Masters and with Japanese art and culture.

One hundred key paintings dating from his arrival in Paris in 1886 to the end of his career, show how Van Gogh experimented with unusual visual angles and the decorative use of colour, cropping, and the flattening of his compositions. In some paintings he zoomed in on a tuft of grass or a single budding iris, while depicting shifting views of a field or garden in others.

Van Gogh: Up Close not only reveals how these paintings became the most radical and innovative in the artist's body of work but also demonstrates that, far from being a spontaneous or undisciplined artist, Van Gogh was well aware of the history of art and was highly conscious of his efforts to break new ground with his work.

More about this title

The exhibition 'Van Gogh: Up Close' will be showing at the following museums:
• Philadelphia Museum of Art, February 1–May 6, 2012
• National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, May 25–September 3, 2012

Cornelia Homburg, formerly chief curator at the Saint Louis Art Museum, is an independent art historian and curator living in France.

“For students and the intrigued enquirer… [A] perfect introduction to the man and his work and not to be sniffed at by old hands.” Brian Sewell, Evening Standard

"This exhibition catalogue delves into the Dutch master’s floral paintings, exploring his unique approach to composition and colour." Artists & Illustrators

"A sumptuous, enlightening, erudite volume." Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times

Page spreads


Watch the related video

Anabelle Kienle, co-curator for 'Van Gogh: Up Close' introduces the exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada
and what can be expected from this landmark show.

Related links

Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition page
Visit the National Gallery of Canada's official exhibition page
Read an article about Van Gogh: Up Close on Yale's blog