Van Gogh’s (Inter)National Identities
Distributed for Amsterdam University Press
In this thorough and original retrospective, scholars of history, culture, art history, media, and literary studies explore the relative cultural significance of Vincent van Gogh and his work across time and around the world. The journey begins in present-day Amsterdam with an examination of the Dutch master’s legacy in a country now troubled by issues of identity, migration, and globalization. It continues with accounts of Hollywood’s embrace of van Gogh, which is in contrast to a colder reception from European cinema; the struggle between French and German philosophers to find the true meaning of the painter’s famous depiction of worn shoes; the unique affection for van Gogh found in Japan; and the unstable inclusion of the artist’s letters in the French literary canon. The book ends with an analysis of van Gogh in his own time, when he was acutely aware of his own foreignness as an immigrant in England, Belgium, and France, and when conflicts first arose over the location, both figurative and literal, of his artistic legacy.