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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Arles, c. 4 April 1888

My dear Theo,

I must write you, as I am sending you an order for paints; if you order them at Tasset's and L'Hôte, Rue Fontaine, it would be a good thing - since they know me - to tell them that I expect a discount equal to at least the cost of carriage, which I will willingly pay; they need not pay the carriage, we pay for it here, but the discount in that case should be 20%. If they agree to that - and I'm inclined to think they will - they can supply me with paints until further notice, and that you mean a big order for them.

. Here is the list:

20

Flake white,

big tubes

10

zinc white

ditto

15

Malachite green

double tubes

10

Chrome yellow

citron ditto

10

Chrome yellow (No. two)

double tubes

3

Vermilion

ditto

3

Chrome yellow `No. three'

ditto

)

Newly pounded

6

Germanium lake

small tubes

)

if they are greasy

12

Crimson lake

“ “

)

I'll send them back

2

Carmine

“ “

4

Prussian blue

small tubes

4

Cinnabar green, very light

small tubes

2

Orange lead

“ “

6

Emerald green

“ “

This is a pretty heavy order (but without counting the difference between the discount which I can hope for, and the cost of carriage); we shall make on it as much as the carriage will cost me, even without taking into account that I get no discount here.

Urgent

10

Flake white

Large tubes

6

Malachite green

Double tubes

3

Chrome yellow, citron

)

3

“ “ No. 2

) Double tubes

1

“ “ No.3

)

1

Vermilion

Double tube

3

Geranium lake,

Small tubes

6

Crimson lake

“ “

2

Prussian blue

“ “

4

Emerald green

“ “

Then - at once if possible - the actual price, to me, of 10 yards of the absorbent canvas, please.

You see of course that if you buy the paints for me, my expenses here will be at 50%. So far I have spent more on my paints, canvas, etc., than on myself.

I have still another orchard for you, but for heaven's sake send me the paints without delay. The flowering time is over so soon, and you know this kind of subject delights everybody. As soon as I can pay for the packing case and carriage (the latter will certainly be cheaper at the small station here than carriage-forward at the Gare de Lyon), I'll send you the studies.

Haven't a cent at the moment, as I told you before. Do what you can, but anyhow let's get the discount on the paints, provided you think it will pay us to work like this. Enclosed an order direct to Tasset and L'Hôte.

Ever yours, Vincent

I am rather curious to know what you will think of my first batch, which will certainly contain at least ten canvases.


At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 4 April 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 475.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/18/475.htm.

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