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My dear comrade Gauguin,
I have thought of you very often, and the reason why I did
not write sooner is that I did not want to write empty phrases.
The deal with Russell has not come off yet, but for all that
Russell has bought some impressionists, e.g. Guillaumin and
Bernard, so bide your time - he will come to it of his own
accord, but after two refusals I could not possibly insist any
longer, as the refusals also contained a promise for the
I wanted to let you know that I have just rented a four-room
house here in Arles.
And that it would seem to me that if I could find another
painter inclined to work in the South, and who, like myself,
would be sufficiently absorbed in his work to be able to resign
himself to living like a monk who goes to the brothel once a
fortnight - who for the rest is tied up in his work, and not
very willing to waste his time, it might be a good job. Being
all alone, I am suffering a little under this isolation.
So I have often thought of telling you so frankly.
You know that my brother and I greatly appreciate your
painting, and that we are most anxious to see you quietly
Now the fact is that my brother cannot send you money in
Brittany and at the same time send me money in Provence. But
are you willing to share with me here? If we combine, there may
be enough for both of us, I am sure of it, in fact. Once having
attacked the South, I don't see any reason to drop it.
I was ill when I came here, but now I am feeling better, and
as a matter of fact, I am greatly attracted by the South, where
working out-of-doors is possible nearly all the year round.
However, it seems to me that life is more expensive here,
but on the other hand the chances of getting more pictures done
And you would give my brother one picture a month; you could
do what you like with the rest of your work.
Well, the two of us would immediately start exhibiting at
Marseilles, thus clearing the way for other impressionists as
much as for ourselves. You must not forget that now there would
be the cost of moving and of buying a bed, which would also
have to be paid for in pictures.
Of course you are free to exchange views with my brother
about this business, however I must warn you that in all
probability he will decline responsibility for it. He will only
assure you that up to the present the only means we have found
of coming to your aid in a more practical way is this
combining, if it should appeal to you. We have thought it over
carefully. It seems to me that what your health requires above
all is quiet. If I should be mistaken, and if the heat of the
South should be too strong for you - well, then we must try to
find another solution. As for myself, I am feeling quite well
in this climate. I want to tell you a great many other things -
but business must come first. Send us both your answer at your
[Here the rough draft of the letter to Gauguin ends.]
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Paul Gauguin. Written 28 May 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
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