My dear Theo,
Thank you for your letter enclosing 100 Fr..
If you meet the man, try to find out what he uses for
plaster. I should not be surprised if he prepared his canvas
with pipe clay. If I could find out about this, I think that I
could prepare the canvas myself. There is no hurry, but try to
find out. I still have 4 meters of canvas 1.20 m. wide, which I
bought here, but it is not prepared.
Next time I have paints sent, he could put some plaster in
the same lot, enough to prepare 4 meters. But there is no hurry
When you got back, did our gentlemen say anything to you
about making you travel for them?
One of these days you will see the Danish painter who was
here turning up in Paris, I don't know how to spell his name
(Mories?). He is going to see the Salon, and then return home,
and perhaps come back to the South after a year.
His last three studies were better and more full of colour
than what he had done before.
I do not know what he will do in the future. But he is
good-natured, and I am sorry he is going away. I told him that
a Dutch painter was staying with you, and if Koning would take
him to the Butte Montmartre, he would probably make some
I talked to him a lot about the impressionists; he knew them
all by name or from having seen their pictures, and he is very
much interested. He has an introduction to Russell. His health
has improved here, and he is very well now; he will be all
right for two years, but after that it will do him good to come
back here for his health's sake.
What is the new book on Daumier, L'Homme et l'Oeuvre? Have
you seen the exhibition of the caricaturists?
I have done two new studies, a bridge and the side of a high
road. Many subjects here are exactly like Holland in character, the difference is in the
colour. There is that sulphur-yellow everywhere the sun lights.
You will remember that we saw a magnificent garden of roses
by Renoir. I was expecting to find subjects like that here, and
indeed, it was that way while the orchards were in bloom. Now
the appearance of things has changed and become much harsher.
But the green, and the blue! I must say several landscapes of
Cezanne's which I know render this very well, and I am sorry
not to have seen more of them. The other day I saw a subject
exactly like the lovely Monticelli landscape with the poplars
which we saw at Reid's.
You would probably have to go to Nice to find Renoir's
gardens again. I have seen very few roses here, though there
are some, among them the big red roses called Rose de
Perhaps it is already something to have found plenty of
subjects - provided the pictures are worth what they cost. If
the impressionists go up in value, it may happen. And at the
end of several years' work we may be able to make up a bit for
the past. And at the end of a year I shall have a quiet home of
I am anxious to know what you will say of what I have sent,
I think it will take ten days by goods train from here to
Paris. If there are any really too bad ones among them, don't
show them! I only sent the lot to give you an idea of the
things I have seen. I must go and look for a new subject, so,
thanking you again very heartily for writing so soon, with a
handshake for you and Koning,
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 15 May 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 488.
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