Vincent Van Gogh’s famous paintings are described in colorful detail by Alyson Richman in her superb novel “The Last Van Gogh”

Art historical fiction book about Van Gogh's life
Alyson Richman – The Lost Wife

I love Alyson Richman’s novels. I have read them all and they never disappoint. She has the ability to take a historical figure, one that you may have no interest in, and write a historical fiction story that will captivate you. This is such a book! An absolute page turner!

For this book, Richman has extensively researched the background of Vincent Van Gogh and Dr. Paul Gachet who treated him. Richman in fact even visited the house where the doctor lived and the place that inspired  so many of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous paintings

Van Gogh’s last 70 days before his Death

The book spans the last 70 days of Van Gogh’s life in the small provincial town of Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris, France. Although the “The Last Van Gogh”, is a work of fiction, the novel is based on many factual events.

In the book, Vincent Van Gogh is  suffering from malaise,. He seeks the help of Dr. Paul Gachet, who is not only a medical doctor, but an artist and a homeopath. Dr. Gachet has his own special garden full of herbs and flowers for remedies.

Van Gogh’s Last Muse – Marguerite Gachet

Van Gogh finds Gauchet’s shy daughter, Marguerite, intriguing, even though the father tries to keep Marguerite hidden away.  An attraction quickly develops between the two….

Van Gogh famous paintings

The novel is written through the eyes of Marguerite. She sees the beauty in Van Gogh and in his crazy ways. She also sees his beauty through his colorful paintings. He paints her as well (and there are in fact two actual paintings of Marguerite). Richman gently portrays the growing love and emotional bond between them.

Since this is fiction, there is no proof that there was a relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and Marguerite Gachet. Nevertheless, it doesn’t really matter. The result, is a highly entertaining read that captures both the intensity of Van Gogh’s last months and the constricted life of Marguerite.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Famous Paintings from this period

Incredibly, during this last period of his life, Van Gogh painted 70 paintings in his last 70 days – that is ONE painting a day!

The added bonus of this book are the vivid descriptions of Vincent Van Gogh famous paintings. I found myself rushing to the computer to google the paintings and to visually see them. What joy to have a story behind them! This is a must read book if you are a lover of art and the incredible artist Vincent Van Gogh.

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