Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

by Deborah Heiligman

Hardcover, 2017

Call number




Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (2017), Edition: 1st Edition, 464 pages


The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh defined both brothers' lives. As a confidant, champion, sympathizer, and friend, Theo financially and emotionally supported his older brother as the artistic but troubled Vincent struggled to find his path in life as both a painter and a man. Throughout that struggle, the brothers shared everything - swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a meticulously researched tale of those two intertwined lives and the extraordinary love that fueled them.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ShellyPYA
From the author of National Book Award finalist Charles and Emma comes an incredible story of brotherly love.The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers' lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his
Show More
path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers.
Show Less
LibraryThing member eduscapes
VINCENT AND THEO: THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS by Deborah Heiligman is an engaging nonfiction narrative exploring the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo.

The story is told through a series of galleries that contain very short chapters. Works of art introduce these galleries. Each section
Show More
explores a different time period in the lives of the Van Gogh brothers. Much of the story is told through the letters written among family members.

The book contains a timeline, author’s note, biography, thank you, endnotes, and an index. In addition, the book contains a series of full-color plates.

Librarians will find that Heiligman’s conversational writing style will immerse readers in the world of the Van Gogh brothers. Use this title as part of a nonfiction narrative literature circle or nonfiction young adult book club.

Published by Henry Holt on April 18, 2017. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
Show Less
LibraryThing member brangwinn
Although the simplicity of the text bothered me, it was probably chosen on purpose to match Vincent van Gogh’s painting style. It’s well research and the reader finished knowing a great deal more about the deep friendship between Vincent and his brother, Theo.
LibraryThing member jayurgal
A heartbreaking sad story of two brothers that had a great love for one another. They both had their own difficulties in life and both lives were ended way to soon. It is sad that neither of them got to see how powerful and famous Vincent's artwork would become. If they only could see today how
Show More
Vincent's work has left his mark on the world.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mjspear
This book's premise is simple: without Theo van Gogh there would have been no Vincent van Gogh. A beautifully-written, accessible biography of the brothers, their lives, loves, and tumultuous relationships. The author employs considerable research in her look at the brothers' lives --including
Show More
their fabled letters-- but like a true writer, this work is behind the scenes. Highly recommended for anyone interested in art, free-thinkers m and quality biography.
Show Less
LibraryThing member heidimaxinerobbins
Story is based mostly on letters between Vincent and Theo. There are also letters from others, but it mostly about the brothers. The relationship of Vincent and Theo was really interesting. They both had mental health issues, but Vincent's were more prevalent. I was surprised that it seemed the Van
Show More
Gogh family treated his metal health issues like a regular health issue, since that wasn't normal for the day. Vincent received a lot of help from doctors, family, and friends. This book does not shy away from any of the hard things that were part of the Van Gogh brothers' lives. Vincent dies because of injuries from an attempt at suicide, and is happy to die that way. Because of that, I would be thoughtful about the age and maturity level of the readers I would recommend this book to.
Show Less
LibraryThing member LaMaestra72
Deborah Heiligman does a fantastic job of “painting” a visually and emotionally stimulating image of Van Gogh’s relationships with his family and friends. Each of the short chapters is packed with so much feeling that I could not wait to see what happened next. I really knew I was hooked when
Show More
Heiligman wrote, “So, let’s stay here for a while and enjoy the scene…”

I really liked Vincent and Theo... because I have been to the Netherlands, I like brilliant, complex people like Vincent, and I love exploring the effect that relationships with numerous people in various aspect of your life can have on you.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Kristelh
Biography of the Van Gogh brothers. YA selection from the free audio downloads through AudiobooksSYNC in 2019. I enjoyed this book and it encouraged me to want to get at my art supplies and papers. It was also so interesting to learn more than the "usual info" about Van Gogh. Van Gogh's art is some
Show More
of my favorites. I will likely read this again.
Show Less
LibraryThing member reader1009
2019 audiobooksync free audiobook download

teen/adult biography/narrative nonfiction (history, art, mental health issues)
seems ok for those who love historical fiction, but not really my thing (hard for me to process so much detail over audio). The narrator has British accent which is pleasingly
Show More
quaint (and also provides accurate pronunciation of the European names and words). I listened to about 11 minutes of this before abandoning, but I would guess that I would like this book OK, but would absorb more of it in print format.
Show Less
LibraryThing member fromthecomfychair
A story about an artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and his brother, Theo, an art dealer, and how their relationship as brothers made the artist we know as Van Gogh.

At first I wondered why it was marketed to young adults. Then I started reading and saw that the simplicity of the writing style and the short
Show More
chapters might appeal to younger readers.

It reads like a novel, a novel you can't put down. There is so much research here, and so many primary sources, their letters, from which Heligman drew to write her biography. I felt, as I read, that I was there in the room with them.

It was also a story of courage, Vincent's courage in the face of undiagnosed mental illness, probably bipolar disorder, based on my reading. How he managed to paint during his good times, and survive his bad times, until he didn't. And his friendship, not only with Theo but with other artists of his time, how he befriended, and Theo promoted the Impressionists. He had a tremendous generosity of spirit, first trying to work as an evangelist to the very poorest, then championing other artists when he hadn't even achieved renown himself.

It is a heartbreaking story. You want to shout, "No," as each brother dies. Their stories ended too quickly. And it seems to me, but for Theo's wife, Johanna Bonger, we would not have come to know Van Gogh as we do. It was she who pushed his art into the world, after Theo died.

Recommend this to readers who are artists or interested in art, even if they are no longer "young adults."
Show Less




0805093397 / 9780805093391
Page: 0.5918 seconds