Vincent Alessi

‘It’s a kind of Bible’: A thematic and stylistic analysis of van Gogh’s collection of English black-and-white illustrations

L. Fildes, Houseless and Hungry, 1869

During his life Vincent van Gogh assembled a number of important collections, including approximately 2,000 black-and-white popular illustrations. Cut from illustrated newspapers, the majority of the works in this collection were from two pioneering English publications, the Illustrated London News and The Graphic. To date, these illustrations has been widely neglected; scholars have acknowledged the influence of English illustration on Van Gogh’s work, but little has been done in analysing the actual print collection. Why did van Gogh build the collection? Why did he choose certain illustrations over others? What was its thematic and stylistic structure? This paper aims to reveal the complex thematic and stylistic structure which underpins van Gogh’s extensive collection, revealing the influence it had on the development of his unique visual language.

Date: Monday 13 September 2010 6:30 pm

Venue: Room 150 Elisabeth Murdoch Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville

All Welcome

Drinks and nibbles provided (gold coin donation appreciated for snacks.: wine generously donated by Eugene Barilo von Reisberg). The seminar will be followed by dinner in Lygon St. Please RSVP Mark Shepheard ( if you plan to join us for dinner.