van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
» Home < Previous   Next >
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Arles, c. 19 July 1888
Relevant paintings:

"Garden with flowers," Vincent van Gogh

"Flowering Garden," Vincent van Gogh

"Flowering Garden with Path," Vincent van Gogh

My dear Theo,

Many thanks for your letter, which gave me great pleasure,

I have a new drawing of a garden full of flowers, and two painted studies as well.

You will see from this sketch the subject of the new studies. There is one vertical and another horizontal of the same subject, size 30 canvases. There really is a subject for a picture in it, as in other studies that I have. And I truly can't tell if I shall ever paint pictures that are peaceful and quietly worked out, for it seems to me it will always be headlong.

Have you had any news of Gauguin? I wrote him myself last week to ask how his health was and how the work was going. No reply from Russell, who cannot be in Paris according to what McKnight says; he has returned with Bock. Still a frosty silence about my work when they come.

What you write about Reid isn't very cheering either. At times he would talk so much about turning painter and going off to an aunt in the country that it is just possible he may be in the act of carrying this plan out. What does Maria say? but perhaps she has disappeared too.

All the same, I think that the continual wind here must have something to do with the haggard look the painted studies have. Because you see it in Cézanne too.

What must make it easy for the Japanese to cram their works of art into drawers and cupboards is that the kakemonos can be rolled up, but our paintings cannot, for they would end up by scaling off. Nothing would help us to sell our canvases more than if they could gain general acceptance as decorations for middle-class houses. The way it used to be in Holland.

Down here in the South it would do one's heart good to see pictures on the white walls. But go and look - everywhere great coloured Julien medallions - horrors. And alas, we can do nothing to change this state of affairs.

However - there are the cafés - perhaps later on we'll get to decorate them.

Good-by for now - with a handshake.

Ever yours, Vincent

At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 19 July 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 512.

This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.
» Home < Previous   Next >

or find:         Credits & feedback