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Arles, c. 10 April 1889
My dear friend Signac,
Many thanks for your postcard and the information it
contained. As to my brother's not having replied to your
letter, I am inclined to think that it is hardly his fault. I
myself have not heard from him for a fortnight. The fact is
that he is in Holland, where he is getting married one of these
Well, look here, without denying the least bit in the world
the advantages of marriages, once it has been contracted, and
of being quietly settled down in one's own home, when I think
of the obsequial pomp of the reception and the lamentable
congratulations on the part of the two families (still in a
state of civilization), not to mention the fortuitous
appearances in those chemist's jars where the antediluvian
civil and religious magistrates are kept - goodness gracious -
mustn't one pity the poor wretch who is obliged after having
provided himself with the necessary documents, to repair to a
locality, where, with a ferocity unequaled by the cruelest
cannibals, he is married alive at a slow fire of receptions and
the aforesaid funereal pomp.
I remain greatly obliged to you for your friendly and
beneficial visit, which contributed considerably to raising of
my spirits. At present I am well, and I work at the sanatorium
and its surroundings. From there I have just returned with two
studies of orchards.
[Here Vincent drew a sketch of Orchard in Bloom.]
Here is a hasty sketch of them - the big one is a poor green
landscape with little cottages, blue line of the Alpines, sky
white and blue. The foreground, patches of land surrounded by
cane hedges, where small peach trees are in bloom - everything
is small there, the gardens, the fields, the orchards, and the
trees, even the mountains, as in certain Japanese landscapes,
which is the reason why the subject attracted me.
The other landscape is nearly all green with a little lilac
and grey - on a rainy day.
I was very pleased to hear that you have settled down now,
and I am longing for news about the progress of your work and
about the character of the seaside scenery there.
Since your visit my head has just about returned to its
normal state, and for the time being I desire nothing better
than that this will last. Above all it will depend on a very
sober way of living.
I intend to stay here for the next few months at least; I
have rented an apartment consisting of two very small
My God - those anxieties - who can live in the modern world
without catching his share of them? My best consolation, if not
the best remedy, is to be found in deep friendships, even
though they have the disadvantage of anchoring us more firmly
in life than would seem desirable in the days of our great
Once more many thanks for your visit, which gave me so much
A hearty handshake in thought,
Yours sincerely, Vincent
March 1889 (sic)
Address until the end of April: Place Lamartine, Arles
[Page four of the letter was a sketch
of La Crau Plain with Peach Trees.]
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Paul Signac. Written c. 10 April 1889 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
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