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"Vincent's Bedroom in Arles," Vincent van Gogh
[The following letter from Vincent van Gogh to Gauguin has a
Bernard Number here because it appears in the edition of the
letters to Bernard as number 22]
My dear Gauguin,
Thanks for your letter, and above all thanks for your
promise to come here as early as the twentieth. Surely the
reason you mention [not feeling well] will hardly contribute
towards making your train journey a pleasure trip, and it is
only right that you should put off your journey until you can
manage it without trouble. But apart from that I almost envy
you your journey, which is going to show you miles and miles of
landscapes in the splendour of autumn.
There is still present to my mind the emotion by my own
journey from Paris to Arles last winter. How I peered out to
see whether it was like Japan yet! Childish, wasn't it?
Listen, the other day I wrote you that my eyesight was
strangely tired. All right, I rested for two and a half days,
and then set to work again, but without daring to go out into
the open air yet. I have done, still for my decoration, a size
30 canvas of my bedroom with the white deal furniture that you
know. Well, I enormously enjoyed doing this
interior of nothing at all. Of a simplicity à la
With flat tints, but brushed on roughly, with a thick
impasto, the walls pale lilac, the ground a faded broken red,
the chairs and the bed chrome yellow, the pillows and the sheet
a very pale green-citron, the blanket blood red, the washstand
orange, the washbasin blue, the window green. By means of all
these very diverse tones I have wanted to express an
absolute restfulness, you see, and there is no
white in it at all except a little note produced by the mirror
with its black frame (in order to get the fourth pair of
complementaries into it).
Well, you will se it along with the other things, and we
will talk about it, for I often don't know what I am doing when
I am working almost like a sleepwalker.
It is beginning to turn cold, particularly on the days when
the mistral blows.
I have had gas laid on in the studio, so that we shall have
good light in winter.
Perhaps Arles will disappoint you, if you come here in
mistral weather; but you wait … It is only in the long
run that the poetry of this place penetrates.
You will not find the house as comfortable yet as we shall
gradually try to make it. There are so many expenses! And it
can't be done all at once. But I believe after all that once
you are here you will be seized like me with a rage for
painting the autumnal effects in the intervals between the
spells of mistral, and that you will understand why I insisted
on your coming here, now that we are having very fine
Well, we'll se each other.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Paul Gauguin. Written 17 October 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number B22.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.