1. Van Gogh used the plural ‘échanges’, which means he must have swapped more than one work with Bernard. We know that while he was in Paris he exchanged his Self-portrait with a straw hat (F 526 / JH 1309 [2552]) for the portrait Bernard’s grandmother [2212] (see letter 655, n. 3). The following works by Bernard also come from the Van Gogh brothers’ collection: the paintings Vase of flowers and a cup, 1887, Figure sitting in the grass, 1886 and Ragpicker fishing, 1886-1887, and the drawings Figures in a street and Bernard's grandmother, 1887 (all Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum). It emerges from letter 630 that they also had Bernard’s painting The acrobats [2323].
As well as the Self-portrait with a straw hat (F 526 / JH 1309 [2552]) Bernard had the following paintings from Van Gogh’s Paris period: Reclining female nude (F 330 / JH 1214), Reclining female nude (F 329 / JH 1215), Blue and white grapes, apples, pears and lemons (F 382 / JH 1337), Self-portrait (F 319 / JH 1333), Self-portrait (F 366 / JH 1345), and possibly also Woman with a scarlet bow in her hair (F 207 / JH 979 [2543]), Woman strolling in a garden (F 368 / JH 1262), The Seine with a rowing boat (F 298 / JH 1257) and Factories (F 318 / JH 1288). He may also have owned Old man with an umbrella seen from the back (F 978a / JH 240). See Van Gogh 2007, pp. 366-367. We do not know which of these works were obtained by means of exchange and which ones Bernard bought later.
[2552] [2212] [722] [2323] [2552] [737] [729] [730] [2543] [731] [732] [733]
2. Katsushika Hokusai’s series of colour woodcuts Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji (c. 1831), and/or the second series in black and white A hundred views of Mount Fuji (1833-1834), which were published in three albums. There is a copy of the second album in the estate, but it is not known whether Theo and Vincent bought it or it came into the collection later (inv. no. n561). See cat. Amsterdam 1991, p. 316. Hokusai produced countless genre scenes, so it is not possible to tell which ones Van Gogh means here.
[735] [736]
3. This may have been the attic at the back of Bing’s branch at 22 rue de Provence; in 1899 it was converted for use as a workshop for Bing’s craftsmen. See exhib. cat. Amsterdam 2004-1.
4. In letter 676 Van Gogh mentions a branch manager called Lévy – this is probably who he means.
5. For Café Le Tambourin, where Van Gogh exhibited his work, see letter 571, nn. 2-3. It is assumed that Van Gogh’s exhibition of Japanese prints took place in February-March 1887 because the portrait of Agostina Segatori (with a Japanese print in the background) is dated to this period. In any event it must have been before the end of April 1887, because that was when Bernard left for Brittany and it is apparent from the present letter that he went to see the exhibition. Japanese graphic art was a major influence on the new style – Cloisonnism – that Anquetin and Bernard developed. Cf. letter 575, n. 7.
6. Read: ‘Avenue’ de Clichy. Van Gogh staged an exhibition of paintings in the Grand Bouillon-Restaurant du Chalet in avenue de Clichy in November-December 1887; see letter 575, n. 9. On the basis of this passage Kōdera assumed that Van Gogh also exhibited Japanese prints there, but there is nothing here that bears this out. Cf. cat. Amsterdam 1991, p. 12.
7. Bernard sold his first painting to the art dealer Georges Thomas, who Van Gogh mentions later in the letter. See exhib. cat. Mannheim 1990, pp. 97, 382. We do not know which work this was. Anquetin’s study is probably Old peasant [2192] (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum). Thomas bought this one, too (see letter 641, n. 8).
8. In this exchange Gauguin acquired Sunflowers gone to seed (F 375 / JH 1329 [2554]) and Sunflowers gone to seed (F 376 / JH 1331 [2555]): see letter 576, n. 2.
[2554] [2555]
9. Shortly before he left for Arles Vincent had covered the walls of Theo’s apartment with Japanese prints. See Bernard 1994, vol. 1, p. 251.
b. Read: ‘outre qu’il nous reste tout ce qu’il y a’.
10. 3 sous = 0.15 francs, so one could buy 666 prints for 100 francs.
11. See letter 641 for the drawings Van Gogh sent Bernard. Bernard sent Van Gogh several sketches soon afterwards, see letter 649.
12. We do not know which flower painting Tanguy had. According to Bernard, Van Gogh had left a great many flower still lifes with Segatori (letter 571, n. 3); this could be why Vincent and Theo had very few left. See further cat. Amsterdam 2011.
13. Vincent had already drawn up a similar summary in letter 638, in response to Theo’s report that Tanguy had presented a bill (see letter 637). The portrait is Père Tanguy (F 263 / JH 1202 [2547]) or Père Tanguy (F 363 / JH 1351 [2560]). The portrait of Mrs Tanguy is not known; that of their friend is probably Portrait of a man (F 288 / JH 1200 [2546]). Incidentally, Van Gogh made a mistake in his arithmetic.
[2547] [2560] [2546]
14. Vincent had asked Theo to let him have the name of the publisher before (see letter 630, n. 9).
Le dessin pour tous, méthode Cassagne, with ‘Cahiers d’exercices progressifs’, consisted of various series made up of a number of instalments of 16 pages each: Étude du paysage, Fleurs et fruits, Figure, Animaux, L’ornement, Genre, Abécédaire du dessin, Marme. In 1881, in other words when Van Gogh was familiar with it, Le dessin pour tous consisted of 61 instalments altogether; L’alphabet du dessin took up 32 instalments (Van Gogh says here that there were 100). At that time, the Guide de l’alphabet du dessin cost six francs, as we learn from an advertisement in Cassagne’s Eléments de perspective. Paris 1881 (cf. letter 214, n. 2).
15. There were five drawings in this batch: The rock of Montmajour with pine trees (F 1447 / JH 1503 [2665]), Trees, Montmajour (F - / JH add. 3 [2324]), Hill with the ruins of Montmajour Abbey (F 1446 / JH 1504 [2666]), La Crau seen from Montmajour (F 1420 / JH 1501 [2147]) and Landscape near Montmajour with a train (F 1424 / JH 1502 [2148]).
[2665] [2324] [2666] [2147] [2148]
16. Among the other drawings of the same size was, in any event, View of Arles from a hill (F 1452 / JH 1437 [2618]), which was part of the set of drawings of Montmajour (see letter 639). In the same letter Van Gogh had suggested offering Thomas Seated Zouave (F 1443 / JH 1485 [2654]) and The harvest (F 1483 / JH 1439 [2620]) as well as the drawings he had sent. It is quite possible that he also counted Wheat stacks (F 1425 / JH 1441 [2622]), mentioned in letter 635, together with this Harvest among the group of drawings for Thomas. All these works measure approx. 50 x 60 cm.
[2618] [2654] [2620] [2622]
c. Read: ‘là-dessus’.