What Van Gogh Said

An online version of all 902 letters to and from Vincent Van Gogh, including sketches, annotations, transcriptions and translations is available at Vincent Van Gogh: The Letters.  The website contains

vangogh sketchall the known letters from and to Vincent van Gogh based on a close examination of the manuscripts and supplemented with explanatory notes. The text is presented in the original language and spelling, as well as in an English translation …  we have tried to add all the information to the letters that present and future generations might need in order to understand what Van Gogh and his correspondents mean and to what they are referring. This mainly concerns the identification of individuals, of works of art by Van Gogh and other artists, of books and magazines. Wherever possible we identify the origin of allusions to (explicit or otherwise) or quotations from novels and poems, the Bible, publications of art criticism or art history, and other reading matter like newspapers and periodicals. Contemporary circumstances and events relating to biographies, cultural history and art history are also explained. These were either known or self-evident to the correspondents, but outsiders lacked the background to understand them – and that certainly applies to readers more than a century later. All this information is contained in the annotations to the letters. In addition, the lengthy study of the manuscripts and the literally countless investigations conducted in the most varied fields for the annotations, yielded more general insights. These are presented in this introduction. They also relate to the subjects discussed in the letters, to the historical context in which they were written, and the circles in which Van Gogh moved. As such they supplement the annotations, but adopt a wider perspective. However, it is not just a question of the referentiality of the letters. One can also detect patterns and tendencies in Van Gogh’s way of writing and in his treatment of the manuscripts and texts as letters. Attention is drawn here to the most important of these.  [Van Gogh as a letter writer]

Michael Jackson Tribute by “Artist Chuckie” Williams

“Artist Chuckie” Williams began drawing at an early age and continued to produce art throughout his life.   His favorite subjects were celebrities — television talk show hosts, music video stars, athletes, and the like.  Using found materials, he created double-sided portraits in bold colors, often with added glitter, on large pieces of plywood and cardboard.  He died at age 42 at home in Shreveport, Louisiana.

At the Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery, here

And here is one of Chuckie’s works, Michael and Madonna

Michael & Madonna




The Isadorables

Abraham Walkowitz

The Isadora Duncan Dance School opened in 1903 in Grunewald, Germany. Eighteen to twenty girls, ages four to ten, were boarded and educated free of charge. In order to provide the tuition for the girls, it was necessary for Isadora to tour extensively. In her absence, Isadora’s sister Elizabeth was the director of the school; however, it was Isadora, who provided the artistic vision for the venture. Because of continuing financial difficulties, and Elizabeth’s desire to assume a more significant position in the school, the Grunewald experiment closed in 1908. Elizabeth opened her own school in Darmstadt, with the majority of the pupils leaving with her. Six of the girls, who had become the principal dancers of the Grunewald school, remained with Isadora and were given the title: “Isadorables.” They were Anna Denzler, Maria-Theresa Kruger, Irma Erich-Grimme, Elizabeth (Lisa) Milker, Margot (Gretel) Jehl, and Erica Lohmann. In 1919, Isadora legally adopted the six girls, and of these, Irma, Lisa and Anna permanently assumed the name Duncan.

In Walkowitz’s depiction, he shows in successive registers the Isadorables, and as the root and progenitor, Isadora is shown in the bottom row. Around the border of the composition, Walkowitz has lettered names of modern dancers, composers, and choreographers. It appears that this collage is a “family tree” of modern dance, and in it the ink drawings capture the persona of each dancer in dynamic abstract fashion without straying into generic formulas.

h/t wood s lot

Burning Bright

Today @The Guardian you can find a lovely slideshow of illustrations from classic children’s literature as published in the Walker Illustrated Classics Series.  Here’s one by Paul Howard from Classic Poetry:


‘The idea of illustrating classic poetry terrified me at first – I can’t remember jokes let alone poems from my school days and consequently think of myself as a ‘poetus ignoramus’. To my great surprise this worked in my favour and I found myself embarking on a fantastic voyage of discovery. I lived and breathed poetry for months, collecting many images of each poet. I wanted the portraits to reflect the period in which the poets lived, and countless visits to museums and libraries and a mountain of research lies behind the pictures … ‘  Paul Howard