Van Gogh Sketchbooks to be Published by the Folio Society

The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and The Folio Society have announced the first ever facsimile of the sketchbooks of Vincent van Gogh held in the museum’s collections.


Van Gogh’s sketchbooks are a relatively little-known part of an oeuvre that is otherwise celebrated the world over. They contain what are perhaps some of his most intimate creations. The majority of the sketches are in pencil or black chalk, but ink and various other chalks and crayons are also used. They provide valuable insight into Van Gogh’s artistic development and some pages contain what are actually stand-alone miniature works of art. He also used them to jot down everyday matters such as addresses and prescriptions, to copy out poems and to make schematic drawings of perspective frames.

There are four intact sketchbooks, and a number of loose leaves. The earliest sketchbook in the collection dates back to Van Gogh’s time in Nuenen in the Netherlands, and the last is the sketchbook he used in the French village of Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh spent his final days. The other sketchbooks contain work from Nuenen, Antwerp and Paris. The reproduction of these fragile originals is in the hands of The Folio Society, who have extensive expertise in the creation of facsimile editions of medieval and modern masterpieces.


The reproduction of these fragile originals is in the hands of The Folio Society, who have extensive expertise in the creation of facsimile editions of medieval and modern masterpieces.


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The four books, together with a folder of the loose leaves and a commentary volume, will be presented in a display box based on that which houses the originals in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. The introduction is by Marije Vellekoop, Head of Collections, Research and Presentation, and Renske Suijver, Researcher at the museum. Publication of this limited edition of 1,000 copies will be on 1 May 2013, to coincide with the opening of a new exhibition at the museum entitled ‘Van Gogh at Work’. With 200 paintings, works on paper, sketchbooks and letters by Van Gogh and other artists, this exhibition will provide insights into Van Gogh’s artistic methods, of which his sketchbooks form an important part.


Publication of this limited edition of 1,000 copies will be on 1 May 2013, to coincide with the opening of a new exhibition at the museum entitled ‘Van Gogh at Work’. With 200 paintings, works on paper, sketchbooks and letters by Van Gogh and other artists, this exhibition will provide insights into Van Gogh’s artistic methods, of which his sketchbooks form an important part.


"The publication of this facsimile edition of Van Gogh’s sketchbooks sees the Van Gogh Museum fulfil a long-standing ambition. The entire process has been nothing less than inspirational, as has the collaboration with our professional partners at The Folio Society."

--Marije Vellekoop, Head of Collections, Research and Presentation, Van Gogh Museum 


Folio Society limited editions are outstanding works of literary or historical significance reproduced as works of art in their own right. Many of our editions are facsimiles of treasures held in some of the world’s greatest libraries and museums. For others, we commission leading artists and craftsmen to create editions that represent the pinnacle of book publishing. All are designed to become keepsakes for future generations.


Pictured: Early model of Folio facsimile edition.

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