ISBN-10: 1350299588
ISBN-13: 9781350299580
Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Publish Date: 11/03/2022
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 7.80" W, 3.00" H

Jo Van Gogh-Bonger: The Woman Who Made Vincent Famous

Translator: Lynne Richards


Price: $35.00


It is so good, after so many years of public indifference, even hostility towards Vincent and his work, to feel towards the end of my life that the battle is won.’

‘It is a sacrifice for the sake of Vincent’s glory.’

Little known but no less influential, Jo van Gogh-Bonger was sister-in-law of Vincent van Gogh, wife of his brother, Theo. When the brothers died soon after each other, she took charge of Van Gogh’s artistic legacy and devoted the rest of her life to disseminating his work.

Despite being widowed with a young son, Jo successfully navigated the male-dominated world of the art market-publishing Van Gogh’s letters, organizing exhibitions in the Netherlands and throughout the world, and making strategic sales to private individuals and influential dealers-ultimately establishing Van Gogh’s reputation as one of the finest artists of his generation. In doing so, she fundamentally changed how we view the relationship between the artist and his work.

She also lived a rich and fascinating life-not only was she friends with eminent writers and artists, but she also was active within the Social Democratic Labour Party and closely involved in emerging women’s movements.

Using rich source material, including unseen diaries, documents and letters, Hans Luijten charts the multi-faceted life of this visionary woman with the drive to shake the art world to its core.

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"[Luijten] presents a fascinating and detailed account of [Jo van Gogh-Bonger's] astonishing life ... [A] magnificent tribute." –Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper

"Magisterial. . . . Luijten has produced the most significant addition to the Van Gogh literature in nearly forty years." –New Criterion

"Thorough ... from which [Jo van Gogh-Bonger] emerges as both formidable and fascinating in her own right." –New Statesman

"Art historians say Luijten's biography is a major step in what will be an ongoing reappraisal - not only of the source of van Gogh's fame but also of the modern notion of what an artist is. For that, too, is something Jo helped to invent." –Russell Shorto, The New York Times

"Compelling ... The book brings a remarkable woman to wider notice ... The van Gogh brothers were inseparable, in life and death, but thanks to this author's diligence, Jo now has her place alongside them." –Michael Prodger, Country Life

"[A] superb biography of the ... extraordinary Jo van Gogh-Bonger. So much has been written on Vincent van Gogh that you wonder what more can be said. It turns out much more on the woman who was the early driving force behind the Dutch artist's legacy." –Jacqueline Riding, The Art Newspaper (Books of the Year)

"[An] important biography." –Elizabeth Lowry, Times Literary Supplement

"This revelatory new biography portrays [Jo van Gogh Bonger] as a visionary woman, driven to shake the art world to the core, who took charge of van Gogh's artistic legacy after the brothers' deaths. It also sheds new light on the complex history of how public appreciation for the work of van Gogh the artist originated and grew." –The Bookseller

"An accessible, immensely researched and vital record of van Gogh-Bonger's remarkable life ... [Jo] ensured that Vincent's talent and pieces lived on; now her own extraordinary work and legacy are highlighted in this essential book from Luijten." –Chloe Edwards, Buzz

"A fascinating and copiously illustrated biography of van Gogh's remarkable sister in law." –John Green, Morning Star

"More than a literary biography... Jo's life and her experiences in the international art world fascinate and enthral." –De Standaard

"All for Vincent captivates you. It is as if you are a personal witness to the story of a girl from Amsterdam who breaks free from her protective environment and grows into a strong and dedicated woman in a world that is dominated by men." –Trouw

"The book provides an ideal compliment to the letters and diaries, fleshing out what is, in the latter case for Jo, a rather fragmentary record, largely preoccupied with what she describes as, 'the mirror of my inner life'. Armed with all the archive material at his disposal, Mr Luijten expertly fills in the gaps using sources that include not only Jo's diaries, but [from] her son, Vincent Willum ... this reader can only recommend [the author's] book." –Journal of Curatorial Studies

"This incredibly granular account of the life of Jo van Gogh-Bonger finally gives her the credit she deserves. . . . Inspiring." –Artnet

"It's massively important. [...] It shows that without Jo there would have been no van Gogh." –Steven Naifeh, author of the bestselling 'Van Gogh: The Life' (2011) and 'Van Gogh and the Artists He Loved' (2021)

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 1350299588
ISBN-13: 9781350299580
Publisher: Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Publish Date: 11/03/2022
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 7.80" W, 3.00" H
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