I was trying to find online images of Van Gogh’s small sketchbooks (the supposed “moleskines”) when I found the images below. The notebook pictured did not belong to Van Gogh, but was rather a sort of logbook kept at a cafe in Arles that Van Gogh visited. The notebook has been cited as evidence for the authenticity of a portfolio of Van Gogh drawings that were discovered a year or two ago (the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam claim the drawings are just imitations of his style). The focus of the story is mainly on the drawings but I’d love to get a better look at that notebook! It definitely looks like the sort of notebook the Moleskine brand was modeled after, pocket sized, with squared pages.
Source: VIDEO. Polémique Van Gogh: l’auteur de la découverte présente les dessins – Monaco-Matin
Wow, this is amazingly cool:
To celebrate the forthcoming Van Gogh at Work exhibition and the 160th anniversary of the great artist’s birth, the Folio Society and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, are producing the first-ever facsimiles of the artist’s sketchbooks, limited to just 1,000 copies. The four intact sketchbooks, which span much of Van Gogh’s life, contain some of his most intimate creations – drawings, sketches, poems and everyday matters such as prescriptions and addresses – that offer fascinating insight into Van Gogh the artist and the man. We have one set of four replica notebooks to give away.
Unfortunately the give away is only for UK residents, but you can buy a set from the Folio Society for only… $845!!
Via Observer Magazine Competition: Win a set of Van Gogh sketchbooks! | Life and style | The Observer.
The Moleskine mythology of having been the notebook used by Picasso, Hemingway, and Chatwin is, of course, not true, as the Moleskine brand didn’t exist until the late 1990s. But since the Moleskines we know today were modeled after similar notebooks used by these and many other artists and writers in the early 20th century, I’ve always wanted to see some examples of these original “carnets moleskines.” Unfortunately, Moleskine’s online presence is so dominating that if you search for “Picasso sketchbook,” all that comes up in Google are the modern day capital-M Moleskines that he never used.
But after some diligent searching, I did find this:
According to this blog post and this one, this is one of Picasso’s actual sketchbooks as displayed in the Musee Picasso in Paris. You can see that it’s a pocket size notebook, with squared pages, and there seems to be a sign of an elastic closure at the bottom edge. On the right edge, there seems to be a pen loop– I’m not sure if this is the kind of “moleskine” the Moleskine brand is modeled after, but it doesn’t bother me that they left out that feature. I do like the red edges, though.
I’ve found some other examples of similar notebooks used for sketchbooks, such as the one on this page, shown below:
Again you can see the same pen loop on the edge and signs of an elastic, though this artist used the book flipped over so it was on the left.
Here’s another one:
According to the description at art.com, it belonged to William Adolphe Bouguereau.
Here, you can see a small sketchbook of Van Gogh’s, but it doesn’t seem to be the same type of notebook:
I wish it was easier to find these images online… but not being able to is a good excuse for a trip to some museums in Europe!
Another beautiful Moleskine notebook gallery on the Behance site, this one by Anna Rusakova. I love the collage/scrapbook elements and the detailed art.
See more at my moleskine on the Behance Network.