This picture is a study for a slightly larger work which Van Gogh named Romans parisiens (Parisian novels). It is an ode to modern French literature. Vincent was an admirer of 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.


  • Title: Piles of French novels
  • Creator: Vincent van Gogh
  • Date Created: October 1887 - November 1887
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Place Part Of: France
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation), Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
  • External Link: Piles of French Novels

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