My dear Theo,
I write in great haste to tell you that I have had a note
from Gauguin, saying that he has not written much, but that he
is quite ready to come South as soon as the opportunity
They are enjoying themselves very much painting, arguing and
fighting with the worthy Englishmen; he speaks well of
Bernard's work, and B. speaks well of Gauguin's.
I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a
Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when
you know that what I'm at is the painting of some big
I have three canvases going - 1st, three huge
flowers in a green vase, with a light background, a size 15
canvas; 2nd, three flowers, one
gone to seed, having lost its petals, and one a bud against a
royal-blue background, size 25 canvas;
3rd, twelve flowers and buds in a yellow vase (size
30 canvas). The last one is therefore light on
light, and I hope it will be the best. Probably I shall not
stop at that. Now that I hope to live with Gauguin in a studio
of our own, I want to make decorations for the studio. Nothing
but big flowers. Next door to your shop, in the restaurant, you
know there is a lovely decoration of flowers; I always remember
the big sunflowers in the window there.
I am very glad that G. is well.
I am beginning to like the South more and more.
I am working on another study of dusty thistles, with an
innumerable swarm of white and yellow butterflies.[Painting lost]
I have again missed some models which I had hoped to have
these last few days. Koning has written saying that he is going
to live in The Hague, and that he means to send you some
I have heaps of ideas for new canvases. I saw again today
the same coal boat with the workmen unloading it that I told
you about before, at the same place as the boats loaded with
sand which I sent you a drawing of. It would be a splendid subject. Only I
am beginning more and more to try a simple technique which is perhaps not
impressionistic. I would like to paint in such a way that
everybody, at least if they have eyes, would see it. I am
writing in a hurry, but I wanted to enclose a few words to our
A handshake, I must get back to work.
Ever yours, Vincent
Gauguin said that Bernard has made an album of my sketches
and has shown it to him.
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 21 August 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 526.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.