My dear Theo,
Work engrosses me so much that I cannot manage to write
letters. I should have liked to write Gauguin again, because
I'm afraid that he is worse than he said; his last letter in
pencil looked very much as though he were.
If it's true, what's to be done? I have had no reply from
Russell yet. Yesterday at sunset I was on a stony heath where
some very small and twisted oaks grow; in the background, a
ruin on the hill, and wheat in the valley. It was romantic, you
can't escape it, like Monticelli; the sun was pouring bright
yellow rays on the bushes and the ground, a perfect shower of
gold. And all the lines were lovely, the whole thing nobly
beautiful. You would not have been a bit surprised to see
knights and ladies suddenly appear, coming back from hunting or
hawking, or to have heard the voice of some old
Provençal troubadour. The fields looked violet, the
distances blue. I brought back a study, but it is very far
below what I tried to do.
I was planning to go into the
Camargue, but the veterinary surgeon who was to have taken me
with him on his rounds has left me in the lurch. I don't much
care, as I have only a moderate affection for wild bulls.
To my amazement I can already see the bottom of my purse,
though it is true that I have had to pay my month's rent.
You must realize that when I take the money for food and
lodging out of it, all the rest goes into canvases. Altogether
these are pretty expensive, not counting the trouble they
I dare hope that someday we'll get back part of the money we
spend, and if I had more money, I should spend even more to try
to get a very rich colouring.
Here is a new subject. A corner of a garden with clipped
shrubs and a weeping tree, and in the background some clumps of
oleanders. And the lawn just cut with long trails of hay drying
in the sun, and a little corner of blue sky at the top.
I am in the middle of reading Balzac, César
Birotteau. I will send it to you when I have finished it - I
think I shall read the whole of Balzac again.
But up to now the loneliness has not worried me much because
I have found the brighter sun and its effect on nature so
Write me a day or two early if you can, the end of the week
will be rather tough.
With a handshake.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 5 July 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 508.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.