Monash University Publishing: Advancing knowledge

Popular Art and the Avant-Garde

Vincent van Gogh’s Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Prints

By Vincent Alessi

$39.95

When van Gogh picked up his pencil and set out on his artistic career, it was not with the intention of becoming a leader of the avant-garde art world. Rather, his aims centred on earning a reasonable wage and living within the middle-class norms of his family. Van Gogh’s hope was to become an illustrator of magazines and newspapers. 

From 1880–85 van Gogh assembled a collection of over 2,000 black-and-white prints, predominately from English publications such as the Graphic and the Illustrated London News. These prints were produced in the thousands to accompany news stories or as stand-alone illustrations to be pinned up in the family home. 

Vincent Alessi reveals for the first time how van Gogh’s collection acted for him as both inspiration and manual: a guide to the subject matter demanded by leading illustrated newspapers and magazines and a model of artistic style. 

These popular images are shown to have palpably shaped van Gogh’s art, throughout his career, and to open up rich new understandings of a life and body of work that continue to intrigue and inspire.

About the Author

Dr Vincent Alessi is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts and Art History at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. His research interests include the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, mid-late 19th-Century European art, 19th-Century popular graphic illustration and Australian contemporary visual art and curatorial practice. Vincent has held numerous positions within cultural institutions including as Artistic Director of LUMA | La Trobe University Museum of Art and Curatorial Manager at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. He has curated exhibitions both nationally and internationally on artists as diverse as Mike Brown, Philip Hunter, Juan Ford, Julie Rrap and Brook Andrew and on topics varying from Australian abstractionism and modernism to notions of place and identity in contemporary practice.

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, please contact our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah Cannon.

 


Copyright

Top