Thoughts on { Books & A Reading List | Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890

the yellow books vincent van gogh

Vincent van Gogh, The Parisian Novels Or The Yellow Books, 1887

‘Reading books is like looking at paintings: without doubting, without hesitating,
with self-assurance, one must find beautiful that which is beautiful.’

 Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo, 5 August 1881


Vincent van Gogh, Piles of French Novels, 1887

“And when I read, and really I do not read so much, only a few authors, – a few men that I
discovered by accident – I do this because they look at things in a broader, milder and more
affectionate way than I do, and because they know life better, so that I can learn from them.”

Vincent Van Gogh, The Letters 


Vincent van Gogh, The novel reader, 1888

“I have a more or less irresistible passion for books, and constantly need to instruct
myself, to study, if you will, just as I need to eat my bread.”

 Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, 24 June 1880

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with Bible, 1885

 Reading List:

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol, 1843
Charles Dickens, Hard Times, 1854
Jules Michelet – L’amour, 1858
Émile Zola – L’Oeuvre, 1886
Alphonse Daudet – Tartarin de Tarascon, 1887

John Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes, 1820
George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Poetical Works, 1887
Hans Christian Andersen, What the Moon Saw, 1862
Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, 1471-72
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1851-52

Edmond de Goncourt, Chérie, 1884
Victor Hugo, Les misérables, 1862
Honoré de Balzac, Le Père Goriot, 1835
Guy de Maupassant, Bel-Ami, 1885
Pierre Loti, Madame Chrysanthème, 1888

Voltaire, Candide, 1759
Shakespeare, Macbeth, c. 1606-07
Shakespeare, King Lear, 1606-07
Emile Zola, Nana, 1880
Emile Zola, La joie de vivre, 1884
The Bible

Vincent van Gogh, Still Life with Three Books, 1887

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