In 1889, Vincent van Gogh’s doctors permitted him to go on excursions to surrounding fields near the asylum he had checked himself into in Saint-Remy, France. On these outings, he painted the scene of men repairing a road beneath large plane trees. This painting is called The Large Plane Trees and is currently in the Cleveland Museum of Art. But he also painted The Road Menders of the same scene (currently in the Philips Collection), in what he called “repetitions.” These two paintings show basically the same scene, but the differences are striking: the detail and the color. By looking from the first painting to his second, we’re invited to study the similarities and differences that reveal surprising insights into van Gogh’s process and motivation.

These two paintings are the covers of a new blank-page sketchbook journal set from Princeton Architectural Press. At 6 x 4.875 inches, these packaged sketchbook journals will be coveted by artists and lovers of van Gogh.

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