Many people are familiar with the life and art of Vincent van Gogh, and his extensive correspondence with his brother Theo. But their sisters—Ana, Lies, and Wil van Gogh—have gone overlooked until now. In this compelling group biography based on extensive primary resources, art historian Willem-Jan Verlinden brings Vincent’s three sisters into the spotlight. At a time when the feminist movement was beginning to take root and idealists were clamoring for revolution, the Van Gogh sisters recorded their aspirations and dreams, their disappointments and grief. Based on little-known correspondence between the sisters, this fascinating account of these remarkable women captures a moment of profound social, economic, and artistic change.
With great clarity and empathy, The Van Gogh Sisters relates the sisters’ intimate discussions of art, poetry, books, personal ambitions, and employment. Their story will resonate with readers and broaden understandings of Vincent van Gogh’s childhood. Set against the backdrop of a turbulent period in nineteenth-century history this story sheds new light on these impressive women, deepening our understanding of this unique and often troubled family.
Willem-Jan Verlinden studied art history and worked for various Dutch museums and art foundations. Together with Kristine Groenhart, he is the author of How I Love London: Walking Through Vincent van Gogh’s London.