Piles of French novels, 1888
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
This picture is a study for a slightly larger work which Van Gogh named Romans parisiens (Parisian novels). Vincent was an admirer of such French Naturalist writers as Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant. In his opinion, these authors ‘paint’ life ‘as we ourselves feel it.’ The books in this painting symbolised the contemporary life that he believed to have been captured so well by these authors.