My dear Theo,
Thanks for the money order for 50 francs, which I received
I knew well that Gauguin had made sea voyages, but I did not
know that he was a regular mariner. He has passed through all
the difficulties, and has been a real able seaman and a true
sailor. This gives me an awful respect for him and a still more
absolute confidence in his personality. He has, if one must
compare him with anything, an affinity with that
Pêcheur d'Islande [Icelandic Fisherman] by Loti. I
think this will make the same impression on you as on me.
Now we have already worked of course. He is busy with a
Negress and a large landscape of this region.
What he tells me about Brittany is very interesting, and
Pont-Aven is a most marvellous country. Certainly everything
there is better, larger, more beautiful than here. It has a
more solemn character, and especially purer in its totality and
more definite than the shrivelled, scorched, trivial scenery of
Provence. Never mind, all the same he, as I myself, likes what
he sees, and above all things he is intrigued by the
This week I made a new study of a sower,
the landscape quite flat, the figure small and vague.
Further I have made another study of a ploughed field with
the stump of an old yew tree. Like this.
[See reproduction of the page.]
And that's all. How are you, and have you done anything in
What Gauguin tells of the tropics seems marvellous to me.
Surely the future of a great renaissance in painting lies
there. Just ask your new Dutch friends whether they have ever
thought how interesting it would be if some Dutch painters were
to found a colourist school in Java. If they heard Gauguin
describe the tropical countries, it would certainly make them
desire to do it directly. Everybody is not free and [in]
circumstances [that allow them] to emigrate. But what things
could be done there!
I regret I am not ten or twenty years younger, then I would
certainly go there.
Now it is most unlikely that I shall leave the shore and put
to sea, and the little yellow house here in Arles will remain a
way station between Africa, the Tropics, and the people of the
At present it is rather probable that Bernard will go to
Africa, where he will meet Milliet, who gives you his regards
and will leave on November 1.
I like the look of the studio, especially in the evening,
with the gas burning.
If you should come across more Daumiers, don't forget to
grab hold of them.
And I think that in the evening we will bring along
neighbours and friends, and, while chatting away, we will work
in the evening as in the daytime.
Portraits of people in the light of a gas lamp, it certainly
seems to me it can be done.
I shake your hand well and write to us soon
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 28 October 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.