Vincent van Gogh’s colorful bedroom is probably one of the most famous bedrooms in art. Did you know that there is not just one painting, but three? The Art Institute of Chicago tells us why.
Vincent, Theo and the Fox weaves a story around 31 of van Gogh’s paintings. Readers also want information about each painting. Every Monday we post about one painting in the book. Todays painting is Vincent’s bedroom in Arles.
Vincent van Gogh loved the painting so much he actually made three versions. The Art Institute of Chicago has an upcoming exhibition that will bring all three versions together for the first time. The exhibition will run from February 14 to May 8 0f 2016. Using digital technology, it will show the subtle differences between the three paintings. The exhibition promises to explain the significance of the three paintings and how they relate to an important theme in van Gogh’s work, the idea of home.
“This exhibition is the first to truly delve into the fascinating history of these three paintings. Beginning with Van Gogh’s early canvases of cottages and birds’ nests, the show explores the artist’s use of the motif of home—as haven, creative chamber, and physical reality—and follows the evolution of this theme throughout his career…“ Source: Art Institute Chicago: Member Magazine, January/February 2016, p. 13
You can find out more on the Art Institute’s website. The Art Institute is one of the world’s great museums. Go if you can. (A big thanks to Duke Ryan, author of Amanda’s Autobiography, for telling me about the exhibit.)
Finally, whether or not you can go to the exhibition, check out this intriguing video from mjkooopman about Vincent’s bedroom:
And why are there three paintings of his room? According to the Art Institute, water damage threatened the stability of the original painting. About a year later, therefore, van Gogh made a second full-size painting of his room so that he could ensure that the image would be perserved. A few weeks after that, he made a smaller, third painting as a gift for his mother and sister. Van Gogh’s artistic investment in the image of his room in Arles gives credence to the Art Institute’s interpretation that the three paintings exemplify van Gogh’s “relentless pursuit of home.”
The painting of Vincent’s bedroom appears about halfway through the story of Vincent, Theo and the Fox. If you haven’t yet read the book, you can check it out here.
text © 2016 by Ted Macaluso
The book weaves a story around van Gogh’s paintings. Readers also want information about the paintings. Every Monday we post about one painting in the book.
Kids (and parents) who read Vincent, Theo and the Fox often want to learn more about each of the 30+ paintings in it. So every Monday I’m posting interesting information about one of the book’s paintings. Here is educator Natalya St. Clair’s fascinating explanation of the math behind Starry Night. The video is animated by Avi Ofer.
text © 2016 by Ted Macaluso
Thanks so much for considering Vincent, Theo and the Fox. Some other books about van Gogh are the following:
Vincent’s Colors. This gem of a book was written by van Gogh (through his letters to his brother) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The hardbound book introduces young (and old) readers to the colors of the rainbow by showing the artist’s words and paintings together.
Camille and the Sunflowers was published in 1994 but still enchants readers today. Laurence Anholt wrote and illustrated this story based on a true-life incident. See also van Gogh and the Sunflowers (Anholt’s Artists Books For Children) by the same author.
Visiting Vincent Van Gogh displays some of the artists paintings and discusses how they reveal his life and emotions.
Katie and the Starry Night by author/illustrator James Mayhew is a classic. What’s Katie to do when she reaches into a painting and all the stars tumble out?
Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by author/illustrator Joan Holub is part of the Smart About Art series. A fictional “Brad” writes a report about the artist.
Children’s Educational Book: Junior Vincent van Gogh: A Kid’s Introduction to the Artist and his Paintings by Fiona Holt is part of the “Smart Reads for Kids” series.
In the Garden with Van Gogh is a board book by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober.
What’s So Great About Van Gogh?: A Guide to Vincent Van Gogh Just For Kids! I have not read this book by Max Tanner. The book is intended to show children why van Gogh was so important for the world.
Vincent Van Gogh’s Cat is an art project written and illustrated by
Twenty-Four Vincent van Gogh’s Paintings (Collection) for Kids by Stanley Cesar has mixed reviews on Amazon since there are no explanations for kids despite the title.
Parental warning – the books below include discussion of when van Gogh cut off his ear. Probably not for very young children.
Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan was named a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book by the American Library Association. Ages 10 and up.
Vincent van Gogh – A Short Biography for Kids by Josephine Madden. This Kindle-only book is 14 pages.
Van Gogh (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venetia is part of a series.
Vincent Van Gogh (Art Profiles for Kids). Jim Whiting’s book is for ages 10 and up. It traces how van Gogh was tormented but continued to paint to express his feelings.
© 2016 by Ted Macaluso
Thank you for looking at Vincent, Theo and the Fox. If you are interested in other children’s books about Vincent van Gogh, here are some to consider. Clicking the links below takes you to the Amazon.com page about the book or item (you don’t have to buy it).
Vincent’s Colors from the Metropolitan Museum of Art – a beautiful book with factual text about van Gogh arranged as a rhyme.
Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars (Smart About Art) In this book “Brad” tells about van Gogh in the form of a school report featuring many drawings by Brad and some reproductions of van Gogh’s art.
van Gogh and the Sunflowers (Anholt’s Artists Books for Children) A story based on a true incident in which a young boy brings some sunflowers to a stranger, who turns out to be van Gogh. The book primarily use Laurence Anholt’s illustrations with some reproductions of van Gogh.
The Starry Night. Neil Waldman’s illustrations shows Van Gogh-inspired paintings of Manhattan, but not van Gogh’s paintings.
The books above are all great. Here’s how Vincent, Theo and the Fox complements them: Vincent, Theo and the Fox introduces children who want an adventure story to the actual paintings of Vincent van Gogh. It helps parents, teachers, and grandparents motivate children to learn about art and visit museums. Its unique advantages are that it has over 30 full-color reproductions of van Gogh’s actual paintings, teaches about growing up and brotherhood as well as about van Gogh, can be read easily and quickly, and is inexpensive compared to many coffee table books.
More children’s books on van Gogh:
Children’s Educational Book: Junior Vincent van Gogh: A Kid’s Introduction to the Artist and his Paintings. Age 7 8 9 10 year-olds (‘SMART READS for … – Expand & Inspire Young Minds) (Volume 1)
Thank you for.looking at Vincent, Theo and the Fox. If you are interested in more about the artist, here are some resources to consider.
Clicking the links below takes you to the Amazon.com page about the book or item.
Van Gogh: The Life
Van Gogh’s Letters: The Mind of the Artist in Paintings, Drawings, and Words, 1875-1890
Van Gogh at Work (Mercatorfonds)
The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Vincent van Gogh Gallery. This is a private website that has a wealth of information.