1. Gustave Geffroy, ‘Dix tableaux de Claude Monet’, La Justice 9 (17 June 1888), no. 3077, pp. 1-2. It emerges from a letter the art critic Gustave Geffroy wrote to Theo on 29 May 1888 that he was planning an article on Van Gogh, for which he evidently wanted to use quotations from the letters to Bernard: ‘In few days’ time, I should be grateful if you would come to Tanguy’s with me, so that I can finish looking at your brother-in-law’s [read: brother’s] work and making my notes. Thank Mr Bernard, please, for the extracts from the letters, which will be returned to him faithfully’ (Dans quelques jours, je vous demanderai de bien vouloir venir avec moi chez Tanguy, où j’achèverai de voir l’oeuvre de votre beau-frère et de prendre mes notes. Remerciez M. Bernard, je vous prie, pour les extraits de lettres, qui lui seront rendues fidèlement) (FR b1199).
2. Bernard went to Pont-Aven in August: see letter 664, n. 2.
3. Van Gogh says that he had been working in the wheatfields for a week. Given that it started raining on 20 June (see Date) he must have begun around 14 June, in other words after finishing The harvest (F 412 / JH 1440 [2621]). He had already told Theo about that painting at length (see letters 623 and 625). The studies of wheatfields he refers to here are Wheatfield with setting sun (F 465 / JH 1473 [2647]), Wheatfield (F 411 / JH 1476 [2649]), Arles seen from the wheatfields (F 545 / JH 1477 [2650]), Wheatfield with sheaves (F 561 / JH 1480 [2651]), Wheatfield with sheaves (F 558 / JH 1481 [2652]) and Wheat stacks (F 425 / JH 1442 [2623]), which is not a wheatfield, but which Van Gogh includes later in the letter among the ‘studies of wheatfields’. He had painted Wheatfield (F 564 / JH 1475 [2648]) previously as a preparatory study for The harvest (F 412 / JH 1440 [2621]); see letter 623, n. 10.
Wheat stacks with reaper (F 559 / JH 1479) was previously regarded as one of the Arles works, but is now placed in the Auvers period. See exhib. cat. Bremen 2002, p. 140, cat. no. 48.
[2621] [2647] [2649] [2650] [2651] [2652] [2623] [2648] [2621]
4. Sower with setting sun (F 422 / JH 1470 [2646]). Van Gogh describes the painting at an earlier stage; he worked on it again soon afterwards (see letter 634).
5. The subject of the sower had already occupied Van Gogh when he was in the Netherlands. See exhib. cat. Paris 1998, pp. 90-105, for an overview.
6. Van Gogh is referring here to Millet’s painting The sower, which he had repeatedly copied from prints in his early years as an artist, and to Léon Augustin Lhermitte’s drawing of the same title, Le semeur [218] (The sower), which he knew from an engraving in Le Monde Illustré. See letters 156, n. 3 and 545, n. 8.
7. Zouave (F 423 / JH 1486 [2655]). A Zouave was a French infantryman trained to serve in Africa. The sitter’s uniform tells us that he was a soldier and trumpeter in the third regiment. See cat. Amsterdam 2007, p. 132.
8. Seated Zouave (F 424 / JH 1488 [2657]).
9. ‘La rue par Jean-François Raffaëlli’, Raffaëlli illustrations lithographed by S. Krakow, accompany an article by Félicien Champsaur about Paris street life, published in Le Figaro. Supplement Litteraire 14 (3 March 1888), no. 9, pp. 1-4. There are 26 drawings altogether; by Place Clichy Van Gogh must have meant the large illustration at the top of p. 2. Ill. 1231 [1231], Ill. 1234 [1234], Ill. 2283 [2283], and Ill. 2284 [2284].
[1231] [1234] [2283] [2284]
10. Caran d’Ache’s contribution was ‘Le Grand Prix dans l’antiquité’, in Le Figaro. Supplément Littéraire 14 (9 June 1888), no. 23, pp. 89-91.
11. Van Gogh had enclosed a paint order for Tasset with letter 613. He had split it in two, and in letter 617 he reported that he had received part of it. The consignment Van Gogh says here he received two weeks ago – in other words on or about 8 June – was probably the second part of that order. It can be inferred from the end of the paragraph and the reference to ‘the canvas’ in l. 108 that he had sent another order with this letter.
12. Vincent had sent the drawing Wheat stacks (F 1425 / JH 1441 [2622]) to Theo (letter 625). This was ‘the first idea’ for the painting Wheat stacks (F 425 / JH 1442 [2623]).
[2622] [2623]
13. L’Homme de Bronze reported on this in the ‘Chronique locale’ of 24 June and 8 July 1888 (quoted in exhib. cat. New York 1984, p. 261).
14. There were three vets in Arles in 1888: Arnaud, 14 rampe du Pont; Autheman, Casimir, 5 place du Forum; and Raynaud, 8 rue de la Cavalerie (L’indicateur marseillais 1888). This was probably Antoine Raynaud, who was a military vet working in the stud farm attached to the barracks. Van Gogh would most likely have made his acquaintance through Second Lieutenant Milliet or the Zouave who was sitting for him at this time. The plan to visit the Camargue did not go ahead (see letter 636); cf. however also letter 657, where he writes of a trip around various farms.
15. See cat. Amsterdam 2011 for the difference in prices at Tanguy’s and Tasset’s.