My dear Theo,
A letter from Gauguin telling me that he has sent you some
pictures and studies. I'd be very glad if you could find time
to write me some details of what they are. With his letter was
one from Bernard, saying that they had received the canvases I
sent, and that they are going to keep all seven. Bernard will
send me another study in exchange, and the three others, Moret,
Laval, and a young man will also send me portraits, I hope.
Gauguin has my portrait and Bernard says he would like to have
one like it, though he already has one of me, which I exchanged
with him some time ago for the portrait of his grandmother.
And I am pleased to hear that they did not dislike what I
have done in figure painting.
And tomorrow I shall have recovered from this queer
But I have done a good week's work, truly, with five
canvases. If that somewhat takes it out of one, well, it's
natural. If I had worked more quietly, you can easily see that
the mistral would have caught me again. If it is fine here you
must take advantage of it, otherwise you would never do
Say, what is Seurat doing? If you see him, tell him from me
that I am working on a scheme of decoration which has now got
to 15 square size 30 canvases, and which will take at least 15
others to make a whole, and that in this work on a larger
scale, it is often the memory of his personality and of the
visit we made to his studio to see his beautiful great canvases
that encourages me in this task.
I wish we had the self-portrait of Seurat. I told Gauguin
that if I urged him to make an exchange of portraits it was
because I thought that Bernard and he were sure to have made
several studies of each other already. And since that was not
so and he had done the portrait expressly for me, I did not
want it as an exchange, as I thought it was too important for
that. He wrote to say that he was determined I should have it
in exchange, his letter is again very complimentary; as I don't
deserve it, we will say no more.
I am sending you an article on Provence which seems well
written to me. These Félibres are a literary and
artistic society, Clovis Hugues, Mistral and others, who write
fairly good, sometimes very good, sonnets in Provençal
and sometimes in French.
If the Félibres stop being unaware of my existence
someday, they will all come to the little house. I would rather
this did not happen before I have finished my decorations. But
since I love Provence as unreservedly as they do, I perhaps
have a right to their attention. If I ever insist on that
right, it will be so that my work may remain here or in
Marseilles, where as you know I should so much like to work.
Because I believe that the artists of Marseilles would do well
to continue what Monticelli began.
If Gauguin and I were to write an article in one of the
papers here, that would be enough to get in touch with
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 14 October 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 553.
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