Theo have found a measure of fulfillment without his brother Vincent?
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
The story of two brothers, one an artist and the other an art dealer, is brilliantly brought to life in this compelling and thoroughly researched biography. Deborah Heiligman's Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers explores the enduring bond connecting these siblings. Consider the Biblical query: Am I my brother's keeper? As teenagers, these two sons of a pastor pledged to be “more than brothers, more than friends." Notwithstanding the incessant emotional push and pull in their individual circumstances, these “companions in fate” remained dependent on one another and on their relationship. Both Vincent and Theo's letters and lives affirm their often difficult and complicated relationship, but ever present connection. “Your work and… brotherly affection... is worth more than all the money I’ll ever posses.” Truly, each sibling was his brother's keeper. ”Oh Mother, he was so very much my own brother.”
Color: "He still wants to paint what is real and true. But with more color." "Colour Expresses something in itself.”
Composition: The artist arranges the work to draw the eye forward. In a similar manner the concluding paragraph of each chapter moves readers on to the next page. “Although he and Gauguin are not the easiest of companions, and the arguments continue, it all really does seem to be working. Until it isn’t.”
Contrast: The principle of complementary and contrasting color is supported by comparisons between the brothers. “Complementary colors…when they are placed next to each other, reinforce each other. They make each other stronger”.
Light and Shadow: "I felt like someone emerging from a dark, underground vault into the friendly daylight." "His life is as dark an unlit coal mine."
Perspective: “The view depends on the perspective.” "Distance can change your perspective too. So can time."
Sketches: Croquis or quick sketches create impressions of individuals and scenes with a few brief word images.
Her prose is accessible for young readers. Tightly-constructed chapters are concise and can be appreciated by middle grade, young adult, and adult audiences. The 464 page count may initially seem daunting. However the intense drama (at times bordering on melodrama) inherent in the lives of Vincent and Theo makes for gripping reading. Use of multiple frameworks gives dimension to the work. The volume is further enriched with an eight page color insert as well as end papers featuring images of personal letters. Back matter is extensive and includes: list of people, descriptive timeline, author's note, bibliography, acknowledgements, endnotes, and index. Stellar nonfiction.
Insights into creativity: Dr. Dan Gottlieb discusses Van Gogh and creativity with Deborah Heiligman and others Audio recording