The Van Gogh Sisters by Willem-Jan Verlinden

Welcome to the website for The Van Gogh Sisters, a book written by art historian Willem-Jan Verlinden. Here, you will find more information about the book, as well as about readings and the surrounding media attention. In addition, this website presents a number of pictures and paintings that are featured in the book, along with a collection of author notes. Your reactions are welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


De zussen Van Gogh

Set against the background of a turbulent period in history, this is the unique life story of the three Van Gogh sisters, based on the letters they wrote and family documents. Many of the letters and images that fill this book have never before appeared in book form.

The Van Gogh family consisted of six children, among whom Vincent and Theo enjoyed widespread appreciation early on. But how did the other children of the family fare? In The Van Gogh Sisters, author and art historian Willem-Jan Verlinden brings the three daughters of the Van Gogh family out from their brothers’ shadow. Often using their own words, Verlinden presents a fascinating account of the (young) ladies and the turbulent developments of the latter half of the nineteenth century and the fin de siècle.

The story of Anna, Lies, and Wil has never been told before. They grew up in a time when long-distance travel by train first became possible, when ‘impressionist’ was still a derogatory term, when the feminist movement was only in its infancy, and when idealists from every political creed and color climbed the barricades to declare the revolution. Willem-Jan Verlinden wonderfully portrays the sisters’ aspirations and dreams, but also their disappointments and grief. Based on the never before studied correspondence between the sisters, The Van Gogh Sisters offers a unique view of their remarkable lives. (Ambo|Anthos Publishers)



About the author

Willem-Jan Verlinden (1971) was born in the town of Helvoirt, went to school in ’s-Hertogenbosch, and studied art history in Leiden. Having worked for various Dutch museums and art foundations for many years, he has become a well-respected advisor in the field of fundraising. Together with Kristine Groenhart, he wrote Hoe ik van Londen houd: Wandelen door het Londen van Vincent van Gogh (How I Love London: Walking through Vincent van Gogh’s London), released by Athenaeum publishing house in 2013.

Particular details about this book

This is the first and only book about the Van Gogh sisters, making it unique in its kind. Much of the information contained in this book is completely unknown to both experts on Van Gogh and the public at large.

The book is also unique in regards to the source material it relies upon. The author studied hundreds of letters written by the sisters themselves and by other members of the family, as well as a large amount of other family documents.

This book also contains many unique images, some of which have never before appeared in a book. For example, the book displays a drawing of the parsonage in Etten, which youngest sister Willemien copied from Vincent, as well as various rarely seen paintings.

When reading The Van Gogh Sisters, you will not only learn a lot more about the sisters and their family, but also about the time in which they lived and especially about the developing position of women in the nineteenth century. Furthermore, ample attention is given to the changes in the fields of education, transport, agriculture, industrialization, psychiatry, literature, and art.