Maite van Dijk, Magne Bruteig, Leo Jansen (ed.)

Munch: Van Gogh

A book for the general market, drawn from the usual barrel. At least, that’s the first impression from the cover, which makes little effort to surprise and aims rather for immediate recognition. But while the paintings we see here are old friends, the juxtaposition of Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh – two fiery characters, in some ways artistic parallels and with sometimes similar convictions, is far from self-evident.

Inside, however, the designers are self-effacing. There is nothing that points to their presence: they have opted for nicely legible type and their typographical choices exude an all-powerful sense of calm. They have not rushed to find ways of making the most of the artworks but let them speak for themselves. The binding lacks a certain lightness; heavy-duty board has been used: ‘That could have been thinner.’ As a result, the boards are too heavy relative to the whole. Might it not have been better to go for a soft cover? Yes, was the reaction of those panel members had seen the soft-cover version. Unfortunately, however, that was not the version that had been submitted. Nevertheless, the conclusion was that this was a worthy and stylish book that would unquestionably find favour with a wide audience. A successful ‘diptych’.

Edition: 2015
Language: English / French / Dutch, translated by Irene Smets, Paula Stevens, Robrecht Vandemeulebroecke
Final editor: Aggie Langedijk, Annemiek Houben (picture editing)
Publisher / commissioner: Mercatorfonds, Brussels (BE)
Designer: Joseph Plateau, Amsterdam
Lithographer: Die Keure, Bruges (BE)
Printer: Die Keure, Bruges (BE)
Binder: Brepols, Turnhout (BE)
Dimensions: 230 x 300 x 25
Amount of pages: 240 p.
Number of copies: 14,116
Retail price in euros: € 39.95
ISBN: 978 94 6230 081 1 (E) / 978 94 6230 080 4 (F) / 978 94 6230 079 8 (D)
Font and foundry: Archer (Hoefler & Co)
Binding style: sewn hardback, foil stamping on front cover
Material: 150gsm Hello Fat Matt (interior), 170gsm woodfree offset (endpapers), 125gsm Wibalin Finelinen 500 White (binding)