Back to site

614 To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Sunday, 27 May 1888.

No. 614 (Brieven 1990 616, Complete Letters 491)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, Sunday, 27 May 1888

Source status
Original manuscript

Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b531 V/1962

The letter was written on a Sunday (ll. 28-29). It must follow letter 613 of Saturday, 26 May with the paint order that Van Gogh refers to here (ll. 3-4). In letter 613 he says he only has enough money left for tomorrow, Sunday; in the present letter the money has all gone. Since he comments on the sunny weather (ll. 30-31) and the weather reports record sunshine on Sunday, 27 May 1888, we have dated the letter that day (Météo-France).

Ongoing topics
First consignment of paintings from Arles (606)
Koning’s stay with Theo (578)

original text
Mon cher Theo
Je m’aperçois que je n’ai pas ajouté à la commande pour Tasset l’échantillon de toile.1 Donc je l’envoie ci-inclus. J’avais espéré avoir de tes nouvelles aujourd’hui, croyant que surement tu aurais reçu la caisse. Je me rappelle avoir écrit sur la déclaration que la caisse devrait être livrée à domicile.
Cependant comme les marchandises petite vitesse restent en gare souvent, si tu n’as pas encore reçu l’envoi il serait bien d’y passer voir.
J’ai obtenu qu’on peindra la maison, la facade, les portes & les fenêtres à l’exterieur et à l’interieur à neuf. Seulement je dois de mon côté payer 10 francs pour cela.– Mais je crois que cela en vaut bien la peine.
J’y travaille avec plaisir.
Si j’ai demandé quelques couleurs à l’aquarelle c’est parceque je voudrais faire des dessins à la plume mais alors colorés à teintes plates comme les crepons.2
J’espère que tu auras un aussi beau Dimanche à Paris qu’ici – il fait un soleil splendide & pas de vent.
Ecris moi aussitôt, je n’ai plus d’argent du tout.
Poignée de main à toi et à Koninck.

t. à t.

En definitive qu’en est-il de l’échange que Koninck ferait avec moi – il m’a demandé deux dessins de moi contre une etude de lui, j’ai accepté en disant qu’il te donnerait l’étude – mais j’ai eu aucune reponse à cela.3 Si c’est que l’ami Koninck ait changé d’idée et prefererait ne rien echanger – il va sans dire que je n’insisterais aucunément.

My dear Theo
I see that I didn’t add the sample of canvas to the order for Tasset.1 So I’m sending you it herewith. I’d hoped to have some news from you today, thinking you would surely have received the crate. I remember writing on the declaration that the crate was to be delivered to your home address.
However, as goods train freight often stays at the station, if you haven’t received the consignment yet it would be a good idea to go by there and see.
I’ve got them to agree to repaint the house, the front, the doors and the windows outside and inside. Only I have to pay 10 francs for that myself. But I think it will be well worth the bother.
I enjoy working there.  1v:2
The reason I asked for some watercolour paints is because I’d like to do some pen drawings, but coloured in flat tints like Japanese prints.2
I hope you’ll have as fine a Sunday in Paris as here — there’s splendid sunshine and no wind.
Write to me at once, I’ve no money left at all.
Handshake to you and to Koning.

Ever yours,

What happened in the end to the exchange Koning was going to make with me? He asked me for two of my drawings for one of his studies; I accepted, saying that he should give you the study — but I’ve had no reply to that.3 If it’s the case that friend Koning has changed his mind and would prefer not to exchange anything — it goes without saying that I would in no way insist on it.
1. Van Gogh had enclosed this paint order for Tasset in letter 613. He probably sent a sample of Tasset’s canvas that he had used before so that Theo could order the same thing again (this is the case in letter 621). It is also possible that he sent a sample of the unprepared canvas he had bought in Arles, for which he had requested primer in letter 610.
2. Van Gogh used these watercolours to paint the following works in June: Fishing boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries (F 1429 / JH 1459), Wheat stacks (F 1425 / JH 1441 ), The old mill (F 1464 / JH 1497), The harvest (F 1483 / JH 1439 ) and in July Zouave (F 1482 / JH 1487 ). See cat. Amsterdam 2007, p. 134, n. 33. In The harvest (F 1484 / JH 1438 ) watercolour is a minor element. The style Van Gogh describes here can be found in F 1429, and in the later watercolours The night café (F 1463 / JH 1576 ), The Yellow House (‘The street’) (F 1413 / JH 1591 ) and Breton women in the meadow (after Emile Bernard) (F 1422 / JH 1654 ).
3. Van Gogh had suggested exchanging two of his drawings for a study by Koning; see letter 600. After he left Paris Koning returned to this question in a letter to Theo of 4 June 1888: ‘I shall send you something soon, then you can pick something out of it to exchange with Vincent. I’d rather have one painted study than the 2 drawings, if he doesn’t mind’ (FR b1077). As far as we know the exchange did not go ahead, although Koning did send work to Theo (see letter 666, n. 9).