Van Gogh. The Letters

Van Gogh. The Letters is a digital edition of all the surviving letters written and received by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890).

"All the letters written and received by Vincent van Gogh are presented in this web edition: 902 letters and 25 'Related Manuscripts' (such as loose sheets and unsent drafts of letters). They can also be accessed by period, correspondent and place, or by selecting those containing sketches. The site can be searched using its simple or advanced search functions. The website also contains essays by the editors about Van Gogh and his letters, detailing their content and context, the artist's writing style and relation to his correspondents, as well as biographical information about him and his family and the publication history of the letters." The letters are translated into English and richly annotated and illustrated with new transcriptions and translations edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker for the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Huyghens Institute - KNAW.


"The present edition is the latest in a long line of publications of Van Gogh’s letters. Contrary to a widely-held belief, this history did not begin with the publication of the first major edition of the letters, the 1914 Vincent van Gogh. Brieven aan zijn broeder edited by Jo van Gogh-Bonger, since brief quotations from them had appeared in the catalogue to the Van Gogh exhibition in the Kunstzaal Panorama as early as 1892. There had already been an initial – unintentional – move in this direction some years before Van Gogh’s untimely death, when it began to dawn on a small circle of people in Paris that the extraordinary artist also wrote remarkable letters. [...] The subject is inextricably bound up with the reception of Van Gogh’s work, with the gradual reemergence of letters from and to other correspondents and of other documents, and with the genesis of the Van Gogh myth. Within the scope of this chapter, however, such aspects can only be touched on in passing.[...] We have likewise not tried to compile a full bibliography of publications of Van Gogh’s letters in all languages, simply because it would have required a wide-ranging bibliographic study that was not feasible within the parameters of the Van Gogh Letters Project. We focus on the key moments in the publication history – the editions that marked a new step in the dissemination of his correspondence in print – and we also discuss the significance of some of the translations."

The letters can be retrieved by place, by period and by correspondent. Users can use extensive search funtions to query the texts, and use view tabs to select the:

  • original text.
  • +line endings
  • Facsimiles
  • (English) translations
  • Notes
  • Artworks. Thumbnails of all illustrated works of art mentioned in the annotations.

Van Gogh. The Letters is the result of a cooperation between the Van Gogh Museum and Huygens ING.

Last update

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 - 2:02pm
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