Edited by Stefan Koldehoff and Chris Stolwijk. Yale University Press, January 2018. 328 p. ill. ISBN 9780300226591 (h/c), $45.00.
Reviewed January 2019
Visually pleasing, The Thannhauser Gallery: Marketing Van Gogh presents readers with a comprehensive exploration of the history of the Thannhauser family and their gallery, the works of Van Gogh, and the international art market connecting the two. Well-written essays and high quality image reproductions contribute to the overall success of this work.
An incredible amount of information on both Van Gogh and the important role of the Thannhauser Gallery in regards to the sales and their recordkeeping is put forth in this book. In addition to informative essays, readers are presented with a detailed, illustrated catalog of works sold by the gallery. Also including a client list, concordance, bibliography, and index, the book would make an invaluable contribution to any art research library.
The essays, delving further into the role of the Thannhauser Gallery specifically regarding works of Van Gogh, fill in gaps left by previous research. The result is a reference work both comprehensive and specific, benefitting Van Gogh scholars as well as researchers of the modern art market in general. According to the introduction, there is new information included on over 100 works created by or previously attributed to Van Gogh. The works that are now believed to be produced by artists other than Van Gogh are treated carefully and with precision, including updated information for provenance and authorship whenever possible. The inclusion of these works is informative and provides a greater context for the art market and sales during this time.
The authors and editors have created a work that is an important resource for both academic scholars and those looking to gain more information on Van Gogh and the international art market in the twentieth century. Serving as an introduction to the Thannhausers, one can learn about the international art market and Van Gogh’s works and the reception they received both in his time and posthumously within this context. While providing key information for art history scholars, this book is an accessible work for readers of many levels. Featuring beautiful, color reproductions, images range from paintings to letters and client index cards from the Thannhauser collection. The addition of the letters, client information, and other archival resources further enriches the text and provides layers of perspective.
The Thannhauser Gallery: Marketing Van Gogh is a product of successful international collaborative research and publication with contributors from the Van Gogh Museum, the RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History), the Guggenheim, and ZADIK (Zentralarchiv des internationalen Kunsthandels; Central Archive of the International Art Trade). It is fitting that the narrative of Van Gogh and the Thannhausers, greatly impacted by its time and relationships between countries, is told so brilliantly by an international group of scholars.