Cassis – Friday

My dear friend,
I’m really happy to have received good news of you and to learn that you have set to work again.1
As I told you in my hasty card,2 I’ve settled in Cassis, a pretty little port an hour from Marseille. Some white, some blue, some orange harmonically dispersed in pretty undulations. All around mountains with  1v:2 rhythmic curves.
I’m giving myself a great deal of trouble. Should I manage to render a tenth of what I see, I’d be most content.
Our Veronese Green and our cobalt blue – not that of that good fellow Tanguy – are without doubt shit beside these Mediterranean waves.
I’m much hindered by the weather: rain or mistral for several days. I’m taking advantage of this setback to do the plates of a work that was ordered from me  1v:3 in collaboration with Mr C. Henry (perhaps you’ve read certain of my collaborator’s articles in the Revue Indépendante) by the Librairie de l’Art.3
It’s a book on the aesthetics of shapes, whose measurements and angles can be studied by means of an instrument – C. Henry’s aesthetic protractor. One then sees if the shape is harmonious or not.
This will have a great social bearing, above all from the point of view of industrial art. We’re teaching the art of seeing correctly and beautifully to apprentice workmen etc. whose aesthetic education has only been conducted up to now  1r:4 by means of empirical formulae and dishonest or silly advice. I’ll send you one of these brochures when they’ve seen the light of day.
Why don’t you come to do a study or two in this pretty country?
Good news of you very often, eh?
Cordial handshakes.

2 place de la République


Br. 1990: 761 | CL: 584a
From: Paul Signac
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Cassis, Friday, 12 April 1889

1. Van Gogh had written this in letter 756.
2. This is letter 755.
3. Signac produced illustrations for two books written by a friend of his, the chemist and colour theoretician Charles Henry: Application de nouveaux instruments de précision (cercle chromatique, rapporteur et triple décimètre esthétique) à l’archéologie. Paris 1890, and Education du sens des formes. Paris 1890. See exhib. cat. Paris 2001, pp. 10, 21 (n. 24).
Henry had published the following articles on colour theory in La Revue Indépendante: ‘Rapport esthétique et sensation de forme’ (Avril 1888), ‘Cercle chromatique et sensation de couleur’ (May 1888) and ‘Harmonies de couleurs’ (June 1888). The Revue Indépendante of March 1889 contained a piece of literary criticism by his hand, ‘Le troisième volume de M. Henri Doniol’.