Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence by Martin Bailey and Quarto

Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provencce  focuses on Van Gogh’s sad and prolific time spent in the city of Arles between 1888–1889. This is the time when the tortured artist reached the apogee of his artistic practice producing some of the most significant paintings we know now.

The book features a thorough map of all the key places Van Gogh visited, from the Café de la Nuit where he drank with Gauguin, the brothel he used to frequent on the former Rue du Bout and where he gave his cut ear to his favourite girl, to the Place Lamartine where the Yellow House was located.

Archival materials, vibrant and diverse reproductions of his paintings, as well as short chapters make for one of the strongest books on Van Gogh’s time in the South of France. 

Published by Frances Lincoln and written by Martin Bailey, the book delivers a deeply-researched and accurate account of Van Gogh’s fifteen months spent in Arles, including his time with Gauguin, his relationship with the Ginoux family, the Doctor Rey and through his deep correspondence with his brother Theo.

Van Gogh loved exploring the nearby areas of the Ancient Roman city, including the Abbey of Montmajour which provided inspiration for dozens of works produced in the small city.

The difficulties Van Gogh faced living by himself led to his eventual decision in May 1889 to retreat to the asylum at Saint-Remy. One of his final tasks at the Yellow House, was to pack up two crates with his last eight months’ of paintings punctuating one of the most unconventional and an incredible oeuvre.

Martin Bailey is a leading specialist on Van Gogh and an arts journalist. He is a London-based correspondent for The Art Newspaper. Bailey has curated several exhibitions on Van Gogh, including one at Tate Britain in 2019, and has written extensively on the artist. His books include The Sunflowers Are Mine (2013) and Starry Night (2018).