van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 19 letters relate to art - theory...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(4 or 5 May 1885)
... about the Salon is very interesting. From what you say about the picture by Besnard, I see that you understood what I wrote about broken colours, orange broken by blue and the reverse. However, there are many other colour scales too, but that of orange against...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(2nd half October 1885)
... Burger and Mantz and Silvestre knew. Just to explain how that study was painted - simply this: green and red are complementary colours. Now in the apples there is a red which is very vulgar in itself; further, next to it some greenish things. But there are also...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(early November 1885)
... - the other in orange - oaks. I am completely absorbed in the laws of colours. If only they had taught us them in our youth! But it is the fate of most people that by a kind of fatality one has to seek for light a long time. For, that the laws of colour...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Emile Bernard
(6-11 June 1888)
... See illustration of page with sketches. ] In another category of ideas - when for instance one composes a motif of colours representing a yellow sky, then the raw hard white of a white wall against the sky may be expressed, if necessary, in a strange way by raw...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Emile Bernard
(c. 18 June 1888)
... way you can work in the wind. This is what I wanted to say about black and white. Take the Sower. The picture is divided in two; one half is yellow, the upper part, the lower part is purple. Well, the white trousers help rest the eye and distract it just...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Wilhelmina van Gogh
(c. 16 November 1888)
... novels, a vaguely representative figure. I don't know whether you can understand that one may make a poem only by arranging colours, in the same way that you can say comforting things in music. In a similar manner the bizarre lines, purposely selected and...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(3 May 1889)
... in that one becomes less exclusive. I am not sorry that I wanted to go into this question of the theories of colour rather technically. As an artist you are only a link in a chain, and whatever you find or whatever you do not find, you can find comfort in ...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(10 or 11 February 1890)
... “Woodcutter” by Millet . Aurier's article would encourage me if I dared to let myself go, and venture even further, dropping reality and making a kind of music of tones with colour, like some Monticellis. But it is so dear to me, this truth, trying...
Lettre de Vincent van Gogh à Theo van Gogh
(28 June 1890)
... avec un petit orgue. J'en ferai un pour toi. J'ai remarqué que cette toile fait très bien avec une autre en largeur, de blés , ainsi l'une toile étant en hauteur et rose, l'autre d'un vert pâle et jaune vert complémentaire du rose; mais ...

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