My dear Vincent
I’ve just read your interesting letter and I entirely agree with you on the slight importance that accuracy contributes to art.
Art is an abstraction; unfortunately we’re becoming increasingly misunderstood. I would very much like it if we were to achieve our aims, that is, my coming to Provence. I’ve always had an itch to interpret bullfights in my own way, as I understand them. I’m beginning to recover the full use of my faculties: my illness had weakened me, and in my most recent studies I have, I think, gone beyond what I’ve been doing up to now. Of course, the collection of boors around here think I’m completely mad and I’m happy about that, because it proves to me that I’m not. I’ve just finished a  1v:2 Breton wrestling that I’m sure you’ll like.

Two kids, one pair of blue trunks and one pair of vermilion. One at top right, coming up out of the water.
A green lawn – pure Veronese shading off into chrome yellow with no execution, like Japanese prints.
At the top a cascade of foaming water,  1v:3 white pink, and a rainbow on the edge near the frame.
At the bottom a white patch, a black hat and blue smock.1

Talking of Russell, Granchi2 told me he’d seen him 2 months ago in Paris, and that Russell had great admiration for me and that he was to go to Belle-Île.3 I don’t quite understand why a rich man doesn’t buy what he admires. Anyway, let’s hope.
So who is this Thomas you speak of, is it Thomas de Bojano? Unless it’s the dealer who used to be near place Vendôme.4
My friend Laval is back from Martinique; he brought some very curious watercolours.5 I’ll have you look at some that you’ll like, they’re art. I’m talking as if we were already together. I have to tell you that once I’ve  1r:4 taken a decision I’m always in haste to carry it out.
If it weren’t for this damned money, my bags would soon be packed. I don’t know why, but for the past ten days or so I have lots of painted follies in my head which I plan to execute in the south: I think it has to do with my state of health, which is blooming again. It’s as if I have a need to struggle, to hack away with crushing blows — after all the research I’ve done here I think I can easily forge ahead.
Until we’re together, an affectionate handshake.


Br. 1990: 654 | CL: GAC 30
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Pont-Aven, on or about Sunday, 22 July 1888

1. The young wrestlers, 1888 (W298/W273) (private collection). Ill. 105 [105]. A letter from Gauguin to Schuffenecker of 8 July 1888 also contains a sketch and description of this painting. See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, pp. 197-198.
2. Gauguin had got to know Achille Granchi-Taylor in Paris in 1885. Both artists were in Pont-Aven in 1886 and 1888. Granchi-Taylor had worked at Cormon’s studio; this is probably how he knew Russell. See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, p. 490 and Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 217 (n. 1).
3. See letter 623, n. 16, for Russell’s move to Belle-Île.
4. Van Gogh must have written to Gauguin about the art dealer Georges Thomas; see letter 617, n. 8, and letter 640, n. 16. Louis Nicolas André Thomas, Duke of Bojano, was the managing director of the Compagnie du Soleil insurance company and a collector. His collection of 118 works was sold at auction in 1882. By the dealer near Place Vendôme, Gauguin probably meant the paint supplier and art dealer Jean Joseph Thomas, who had a shop at 235 rue Saint-Honoré until 1887. See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, p. 482 and exhib. cat. Paris 1988, p. 347 (n. 124).
5. See letter 623, n. 3, for Gauguin and Laval’s stay on Martinique. The watercolours Laval brought back with him from Martinique are not known.