By John Ostapkovich

Philadelphia (CBS) – A new biography tackles one of the world’s most-revered and least-understood painters, Van Gogh.

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The book, Van Gogh: The Life is by the duo that also wrote a definitive bio of Jackson Pollock. In Van Gogh, co-author Steven Naifeh, says they found the three keys to something worth researching for 10 years: an important artist with a well-documented and interesting life.

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“There’s nothing that suggests that great art has to come from nice, easy people. In this case, we all know from the fact that he cut off his ear that this was not a normal person. He was also self-committed to an insane asylum so it’s hardly a revelation that Van Gogh was mentally ill.”

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The book tracks a turbulent life, with much friction with family, until near its end Van Gogh’s work impressed a writer whose gushing coverage propelled his genius into fame and fortune, not long before his slipped into that starry night forever.