van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
 
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Arles, 21 February 1888

My dear Theo,

During the journey I thought of you at least as much as I did of the new country that I was seeing.

Only I told myself that maybe later on you will often come here yourself.

Now I'll begin by telling you that there's at least 60 centimeters of fallen snow everywhere, and it is still falling.

Arles doesn't seem any bigger than Breda or Mons.

Before arriving at Tarascon I noticed a magnificent landscape of immense yellow rocks, strangely intricate with the most imposing shapes.

In the tiny valleys between these rocks were rows of small round trees with foliage of olive-green or grey-green, which could well be lemon trees.

But here in Arles the country appears flat. I saw some magnificant red terrain planted with grapevines, with a background of mountains of the most delicate lilac. And the landscapes in the snow, with the summits white against a sky as luminous as the snow, were just like winter landscapes done by the Japanese.

Here is my address:

Restaurant Carrel,
30 Rue Cavalerie,
(Departement Bouches du Rhône) Arles.

I have only taken a little trip into the town so far, since I was more or less dog-tired last night.

I'll write soon. In an antique shop on the same street that I went into yesterday, the man told me he knew of a Monticelli.

With a good handshake to you and our comrades.

Ever yours, Vincent


At this time, Vincent was 34 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 21 February 1888 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 463.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/18/463.htm.

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