The personal and professional history of van Gogh and Gauguin their rivalrous friendship and brief period of collaboration in Arles in 1888 constitutes one of the most dramatically revealing sagas in the history of modern art. In many ways, it is the quintessential story about the beginnings of modern avant garde practice as it developed in the wake of the last Impressionist exhibition, held in 1886. Gauguin and van Gogh were, by circumstances of personality and history, 'isol s': at once inherently self involved and faced, in the absence of a single dominant 'school,' with a dizzying array of contemporary art making. Brought together by circumstance, each artist played a vital role in the other's search for a personal style that would relate to current developments yet be unique. Over the course of this century, van Gogh and Gauguin have received a prodigious amount of scholarly attention. Recent contributions to this literature including new biographies, studies of particular aspects of their art, and publication of their letters have expanded our knowledge significantly. But while references to their problematic interaction abound, sustained analysis of their mutual influence has yet to be the subject of a major study. This book, published on the occasion of a landmark exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, systematically explores the relationship in the context of the larger cultural and political background implied in their ideas for a 'Studio of the South.' It charts the connections between the two men through their stay together in Provence and beyond to Vincent's death in 1890. A final section considers the remainder of Gauguin's career, both in Tahiti and the Marquesas (where he died in 1903), as an attempt to realize the ideals of the 'Studio of the South' developed with van Gogh and shaped by his posthumous reputation. 575 illustrations, 400 in color.