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Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence *Book Giveaway*

studio-of-the-south

Greetings dear readers and friends – and a very Happy New Year! As they do in France, I send you all my best wishes (meilleurs voeux) for 2017.

What better way to start off the New Year than with a giveaway? Today I have the pleasure of giving away a copy of Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence by Martin Bailey. And let me tell you, this was a great read!

I had thought that perhaps Studio of the South would be a glossy, coffee-table type of book – full of gorgeous painting and helpful details, but perhaps hard to get to the real essence of Van Gogh in Provence. In fact, it was just the opposite.

I read Studio of the South from cover-to-cover, and some afternoons I found it almost impossible to put down. The book is beautifully narrated and reads more like a novel, a piece of authentic non-fiction that pulls the reader in and connects us to the pulse of Van Gogh’s artistic life in the South of France. All in all, it’s a fascinating story.

Van Gogh's "Yellow House" in Arles
Van Gogh’s “Yellow House” in Arles

The book takes place mainly in the city of Arles, with a brief introduction to Van Gogh’s time in Paris, and his final days after his stay at the asylum in Saint Rémy de Provence. In Arles, Van Gogh rents a room in the Yellow House where he has an extremely productive period of creating some of his most memorable masterpieces. It is here that we find his famous Sunflower still-lifes, Haystacks, and Café Terrace at Night.  Each work is described in chronological order, as we follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh’s life in Arles and the places around town that inspired his artwork. These subjects are sometimes simple, but vibrant landscapes, portraits of residents & acquaintances, and still-lifes from his bedroom in the Yellow House.

Fifteen Sunflowers
Fifteen Sunflowers

Woven throughout the book, we also get glimpses into Van Gogh’s daily life and state-of-mind. As is well-documented, he was a troubled soul, had a hard time making friends and true love eluded him his entire life. But beyond being a characterization that could be seen as somewhat depressing, the author’s thorough research into Van Gogh’s movements, and above all, his complicated relationship with his brother Theo, allows us to better understand what made the artist tick.

Even more surprising, amidst all this inner turmoil, Van Gogh was continuing to produce masterpieces with incredible speed.

He gets an artistic boost when fellow painter Gauguin joins him in his studio of the south. Gauguin set himself up at the Yellow House and the pair enjoyed a collaborative, albeit tumultuous relationship. Some of the more famous works from this period include the Alyscamps series (both artists), The Arlésienne (Van Gogh), and The Night Café (Gauguin).

Café Terrace at Night
Café Terrace at Night

The duo also find themselves pursuing some the “darker” pleasures of the day in their frequent visits to brothels which become immortalized in their work. And it is in one of these brothels, on the “Street of the Kind Girls”, where Van Gogh’s infamous “ear incident” comes to a troubling conclusion.

Gauguin eventually leaves Arles and Van Gogh’s troubles escalate; although he is still able to produce amazingly-optimistic paintings which give little clue to his day-to-day trials and manage to capture all that’s glorious, and inspiring, about Provence.

Giveaway

If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence, just leave a comment below and tell us what inspires you most about Provence. 

A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, January 15th (12pm Eastern Standard Time) using random.org.

Good luck chers amis!

*And if you’re interested in purchasing Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence, please visit the book’s page on Amazon.

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52 thoughts on “Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence *Book Giveaway*

    1. I have a few copies Van Gogh prints purchased in New York and SF. I absolutely love them. I would love to have the book “Studio of the South” Van Gogh Provence.

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  1. We just returned from 3 fabulous weeks in Provence. Arles is a beautiful spot, one of many we have enjoyed. Always interested in learning more about the artist after visiting the area of inspiration.

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  2. Provence has so diverse landscapes, but artists like van Gogh were coming for the special light (which can be even hurting the eyes with its brightness at times of Mistral). Even when it’s cloudy, it’s still there.

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  3. Van Gogh said, “What color is in a picture, enthusiasm is in life.” What inspires me most about Provence is that it offers warmth and enthusiastic “joy” to *all* of my senses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tuula!
    This book looks fabulous. I’ll be coming to Provence in April to spend a month with the intention of living here for part of the year in the near future.
    As a painter I dream about the unique beauty of the Provencal countryside; the lavendar and light, the sunflower fields, awesome ancient ruins, stone architecture, the cuisine, the Grasse perfumes…I could go on and on.
    Mr. Bailey’s book looks like an awesome read that would compliment my journey, especially as I explore the environs of Van Gogh’s inspired, sun-lit life in Arles and beyond.

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  5. The Provence that inspires? It still has to be the light, even in the depths of winter, the sparkling frost, crunchy underfoot; then the warmth of the sun later in the day. And then the night sky, you can see it in so many of Van Gogh’s paintings and it is just the same now. Artist and environment, as one.

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  6. I don’t think i’ve been to Provence! I did spend a week in Paris last month though. My daugher is an artist and Van Gogh is her favorite painter. I know she would very much enjoy the book (after I’ve read it first!)

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    1. That’s inspirational Micheal, and I agree with not wanting to give up your passion, Provence is hard to let go of once it gets under your skin. Thank you for entering and hope you get to Provence soon!

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  7. I am always inspired to cook and bake in Provence after strolling the markets and purchasing “the creme de la creme” mouth watering ripe fruits and vegetables that season has to offer—especially the tomatoes, melons, and strawberries!!!

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  8. Provence is such a unique place in the world. The special location near the sea yields regional products that are a feast to the senses created by the magic of the sun, the terroir, and the water …….culinary creations made from the fruits, vegetables, herbs, olives, and nuts grown in this area …..the poppies and lavender, wines, clay and olive wood products, and the special light that has inspired so many artists and film makers. The symbols of Provence are found everywhere in daily life as motifs in the napkins, tablecloths, towels, dishes and cookware. An enchanting place!

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  9. I am inspired by the Southern French who take the time to dine with others during meal times, surrounded by the fragrances of wild herbs and lavender in June. But I especially love the fact that good rosé is cheap and abundant here!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I, too, love your blog. My husband lived for many years in Provence, renovated an old abbey into a once-again habitable space, yet retaining the feel for the old. Sadly, I haven’t yet had the privilege to see Provence through his eyes. I’d love to at least get to know this piece of heaven through the book!

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comment Cindy. Sounds like your husband had quite a wonderful experience – the dream of many people, myself included! Hope you get to visit Provence someday soon and many thanks for entering the giveaway.

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  11. Even though I live full-time in France, a trip to Provence is always special. It inspires me to write! I love to take my journal, sit in the warm sunshine at a cafe in a tiny village and write, write, write. The landscape, the people, the history…so many stories waiting to be told.

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    1. Great comment Evelyn and many thank for entering. I feel so lucky to travel to other parts of France as well, seems like every part of this country is so beautiful. And of course Provence is no exception!

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  12. I was fortunate enough to be in Provence when teh sunflowers were in full bloom. The hills were covered in beautiful color in the clear light of Provence. A wonderful site to see. No wonder Van Gogh could not resist painting them.

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  13. I am one of those people who is very impressed by the unique light and the intensity of the colours and their shades here and -even more- by the diversity in and richness of nature. The flowers, the animal world, a whole universe of insects I’ve never seen before … After more than 2 years of living the expat life in Provence the fascination is still as fresh as it was when we came exploring the area. As a writer, a poet and a mixed media artist, I feel blessed to have the river Verdon as my muse and this part of southern France as my home region. Inspiration is everywhere, each and every single day.

    I am about to finish a Dutch book on Van Gogh, written by a friend of mine, and have a whole collection of first- and second-hand books about him now. Both his perseverance and his conscious choice for a different sort of art are intriguing matters for me. As he spent some time in my home country Belgium, learning about him and his art attracts me in a way that is not easy to explain: as if he and I have sort of a bond …

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    1. Wow, that’s all fascinating… So wonderful to hear about all of the artists living in Provence. And so many Van Gogh fans as well. Thank you for your lovely comment and good luck for the giveaway!

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  14. Haven’t been to Provence but did visit the Côte d’Azur. I love Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It’s amazing that he painted what he could see of the Milky Way, since he didn’t have the light pollution we have today. The book sounds great!

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  15. Because it is stunning. Landscape, architecture, music, history, wine, color…what is not to love about Provence?! And it was part of the first trip I ever took with my now husband.

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    1. Thank you so much! I will enjoy reading about my favorite place in France and learning more about how this magical place inspired Van Gogh. MERCI!

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  16. This book looks great. Ever since I moved to Provence I’ve become to appreciate Van Gogh. Can you believe it, I actually didn’t really like his paintings beforehand. Now that I live here, I know why he used those vibrant colours. On my wishlist: an enormous coffee table cook with all his works.

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    1. Hi Ashley, thanks for your comment! It’s funny, I didn’t think too much about Van Gogh before moving here either… but now I think we can feel so much more connected to the paintings because we see those types of scenes around us every day. Hope you’re keeping well on your side of Provence! 🙂 Tuula

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