My dear Theo,
If the roll is not too big to be accepted by the post
office, you will receive another big pen drawing, which I would
very much like the Pissarros to see if they come on Sunday. I
have just received part of the paints order, and thank you very
much for it.
Early tomorrow I start for Saintes-Maries on the
Mediterranean. I shall stay there till Saturday evening.
I am taking two canvases, but I'm rather afraid it will
probably be too windy to paint.
You go by diligence, it is 50 kilometers from here. You
cross the Camargue, grass plains where there are herds of
fighting bulls and also herds of little white horses, half wild
and very beautiful.
I am taking especially whatever I need for drawing. I must
draw a great deal, for the very reason you spoke of in your
last letter. Things here have so much line. And I want to get
my drawings more spontaneous, more exaggerated. I am still
worried by your travel plans, or rather the proposals which
have been made to you about travelling.
Travelling beats you up, and above all it disturbs the brain
more than can be good for you.
Anyway, I feel that I am to blame for it, and tell myself
that it is my need for money that is driving you to it. No -
it's not right.
Then I say to myself that we can begin to hope that in a
little while I shall sell one or two pictures a month, for
they are improving. Keep putting them off and talk to Gruby
about it; I venture to think that he would rather you kept
quiet for a year. If I am wrong, and if Gruby thinks that a
change would be good - but this cannot be so. I have written to
Gauguin, and said only that I was sorry we were working so far
from one another, and that it was a pity that several painters
did not combine for one campaign.
We must count on this by dragging on for years perhaps
before the impressionists have a steady value, and so we must
consider that helping him will be a lengthy business. But he
has such great talent that being associated with him would be a
step forward for us.
I was quite serious when I first told you that, if you like,
I will go to America with you, provided that it would be a good
long stay and would be worth the trouble.
Enclosed is a line of farewell to Koning. I must get some
stuff done that might persuade somebody like Thomas, for
instance, to join you in sending people who would go to work
down here. In that case I think that Gauguin would be sure to
With a handshake - many thanks for the paints.
Ever yours, Vincent
It would be a great risk to take Gauguin, but we must aim at
this, and I hope that you will find Tersteeg a help, or Thomas,
or somebody, I don't know who, but I hope so.
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 29 May 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 495.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.