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My dear Theo,
I shall have to pay my rent on September 1, and if you could
send the week's money the day you get your month's pay, I could
pay the rent on time, then the outlay would be spread over two
weeks. And if you could send the money on Sunday by letter or
by a telegraph order, I should not be sorry to gain a day in
I have two models this week: an Arlésienne and the
old peasant. I am doing him this time against a background of
vivid orange which, although it does not pretend to be the
image of a red sunset, may nevertheless give a suggestion of
Unfortunately I am afraid that the little Arlésienne
will not turn up for the rest of the picture. As a matter of
fact, the last time she came, she asked me for all the money I
had promised her for posing in advance, and as I made no
objection to that, she has made off and I have not seen her
again. But some day or other she is bound to come back; it
would be a little too thick if she failed me altogether.
I am also working on a bunch of flowers, and a still life of
an old pair of shoes.
I have heaps of ideas for my work, and if I go on with
figure painting very industriously, I may possibly find more.
But what's the use? Sometimes I feel too feeble to fight
against existing circumstances, and I should have to be
cleverer and richer and younger to win.
Fortunately for me, I do not hanker after victory any more,
and all that I seek in painting is a way to make life
Still no reply from Russell. He can't have a penny just now.
I hope our sister has seen the Luxembourg again by now.
We have had two or three perfect days here, very hot and no
wind. The grapes are beginning to ripen, but I hear that they
will not be good.
I must work again today. I have qualms about the last days
of this week, because of those models.
I am negotiating with some other people to pose for me.
There is something always driving me on to do as many figure
studies as ever I can.
In the future things may well be worse again, and then
whatever comes, once I have made myself master of the figure, I
think the work will seem deeper.
A handshake for you and our sister,
Ever yours, Vincent
Difficulties with models continue with exactly the same
tenacity as the mistral here. It is not cheering.
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 29 August 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 529.
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