All Van Gogh’s letters translated into Chinese

27 May 2016

The Chinese translation of the complete correspondence of Vincent van Gogh is published today in Shanghai. The Chinese publisher of Vincent van Gogh – The Letters, Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher, organized a celebratory presentation.

In his speech, Axel Rüger (Director Van Gogh Museum) emphasized the importance of the letters as a source of knowledge for research into Van Gogh’s life and work and the art of his time. ‘A long-cherished wish of the Van Gogh Museum is fulfilled today: making Van Gogh’s complete correspondence accessible to Chinese readers. Van Gogh is a much-loved artist in China, and his life and work have inspired generations of Chinese people.’

The Chinese translation of Vincent van Gogh – The Letters. The Complete, Illustrated and Annotated Edition includes all 819 surviving letters written by Vincent van Gogh, mostly to his brother Theo, plus 83 letters sent to him by relatives and artist friends. In addition to the text of the letters and explanatory notes, the book reproduces the many sketches Van Gogh made in his letters. All the cited artworks on which Van Gogh was working or which he saw in museums or publications are also illustrated: over 4,300 in total.


The Chinese translation (Simplified Chinese) of Vincent van Gogh – The Letters is published by Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher in collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum, Huygens ING, and the Dutch Foundation for Literature, which also funded the translation. Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher is a leading producer of high-quality art books in China. Zhang Xiaomin (president Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher), comments: ‘Chinese readers all over the world can now share in this cultural and artistic heritage of outstanding international value.’ A team of translators headed by Professor Lin Xianghua spent five years working on the translation. The design is based on that of the original edition by Wim Crouwel. The publication will be available to Chinese buyers in two versions: a classic and a collector’s edition.

Rüger : ‘Van Gogh’s life and work have inspired generations of Chinese people. Now that his letters are accessible in Chinese, knowledge of Van Gogh as an innovative artist and talented letter-writer will become even deeper and more widespread.’

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15 years of research

Vincent van Gogh – The Letters. The Complete, Illustrated and Annotated Edition (6 vols.) marked the culmination in 2009 of fifteen years of research by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker, the team responsible for the Van Gogh Letters Project. Alongside the printed edition, all the Van Gogh letters have also been published digitally in a complete, English-language scholarly web edition: The web edition won the prestigious Europa Nostra Award (Grand Prix) in 2010. The Van Gogh Letters Project was a joint initiative of the Van Gogh Museum and Huygens ING (KNAW). Vincent van Gogh – The Letters was published in collaboration with Mercatorfonds publishers and has enjoyed great success in three international co-editions, in Dutch (Amsterdam University Press), English (Thames and Hudson) and French (Actes Sud).

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