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Arles, 16 October 1888
My dear Theo,
At last I can send you a little sketch to give you
at least an idea of the way the work is shaping up. For today I
am all right again. My eyes are still tired but then I had
a new idea in my head and here is the sketch of it. Another size 30
canvas. This time it's just simply my bedroom,
only here colour is to do everything, and giving by its
simplification a grander style to things, is to be suggestive
here of rest or of sleep in general. In a word, looking
at the picture ought to rest the brain, or rather the
The walls are pale violet. The floor is of red tiles.
The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh
butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish-citron.
The coverlet scarlet. The window green.
The toilet table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that is all - there is nothing in this room with its
The squareness of the furniture again must express
inviolable rest. Portraits on the walls, and a mirror and a
towel and some clothes.
The frame - as there is no white in the picture - will be
This by way of revenge for the enforced rest I was obliged
I shall work on it again all day, but you see how simple the
conception is. The shadows and the cast shadows are suppressed;
it is painted in free flat tints like the Japanese prints. It
is going to be a contrast to, for instance, the Tarascon
diligence and the night café.
I am not writing you a long letter, because tomorrow very
early I am going to begin in the cool morning light, so as to
finish my canvas.
I know that you will write one of these days.
I will make you sketches of the other rooms too someday.
With a good handshake.
Ever yours, Vincent
[Sketch “The Bedroom,” was enclosed with letter.]
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 16 October 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 554.
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