My dear Theo,
Probably I shall hear from you tomorrow morning, but I have
time to write tonight, and the week has been rather
I expect to go to live in the house tomorrow, but as I have
bought some more things and have still more to add to them, and
I am only speaking of what is strictly necessary - you must
again send me 100 francs instead of 50.
If I reckon 50 francs for myself for the past week and
deduct them from the 300 francs you sent, all that is left,
even with another extra 50 francs, is no more than the exact
price of the two beds. So you will see that in spite of that I
have already bought many other things beside the beds and the
bedding, I have already spent the greater part of the 50 francs
for the week, and I have partly economized on both beds by
having one of them somewhat plainer.
I am convinced that in the end we shall do well by
furnishing the studio. And I already feel freer in my work, and
less harried by unnecessary annoyances than I have been.
Only if, as I hope, I take more pains with the style and
quality of my work, it will go a little more slowly, or rather
I shall have to keep the pictures with me longer. That is, if
they are subjects that are connected and complement each other.
And also because there will be some pictures which I certainly
do not want to send you till they are bone dry.
In this last category there is a square size 30 canvas, a
corner of a garden with a weeping tree, grass, round clipped
cedar shrubs and an oleander bush. The same
corner of the garden, that is, which you have already had a
study of in the last parcel. But this one is
bigger, there is a citron sky over everything, and also the
colours have the richness and intensity of autumn. And besides
it is in even heavier paint than the other one, plain and
thick. That is picture number one this week.
The second represents the outside of a café, with the
terrace lit up by a big gas lamp in the blue night, and a
corner of a starry blue sky.
The third picture this week is a portrait of myself,
almost colourless, in ashen tones against a background
of pale veronese green.
The problem of painting night scenes and effects on the spot
and actually by night interests me enormously. This week I have
done absolutely nothing but paint and sleep and have my meals.
That means sittings of twelve hours at a stretch.
I read in the literary supplement of Saturday's Figaro (15
September) the description of an impressionist house. This
house was built with bricks - as it were like the bottoms of
bottles - of convex glass, violet glass. With the sunshine
reflected in it, and the yellow refractions, the effect was
incredible. To support these walls of glass bricks, shaped like
violet-coloured eggs, they had invented a support of black and
gilt iron representing the weird branches of Virginia creeper
and other climbing plants. This violet house was right in the
middle of a garden where all the paths were of bright yellow
sand. The ornamental flower borders were of course most unusual
in colouring. The house is, if I remember correctly, in
Without changing anything in this house either now or
afterward, I want all the same to make it an artist's house
through the decorations. That will come. A good handshake. I
went for a splendid walk by myself today among the
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 16 September 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 537.
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