My dear Vincent
Don’t bother yourself with the studies that I deliberately left in Arles as not being worth the trouble of transporting them.1 On the other hand the sketchbooks2 contain notes which are useful to me, and I accept your offer to send them to me. As well as the 2 masks and gloves3

29 rue Boulard

Milliet’s address is

2nd lieutenant 3rd Zouaves
Guelma — Place de Constantine

I regret that I inadvertently took it with me (all my apologies). I’ve seen Bernard twice since I arrived in Paris. He has a very good chance of not being a soldier because of his narrow chest, and he won’t know his fate until the end of February. It appears that his father is bothering him more and more on account of the painting and the unfortunate letter I wrote to his family.4
No, I haven’t done any portraits yet, having spent my time on errands.5 Now that I have a studio in which I sleep,6 I’m going to put myself to work. I’ve begun a  1v:3 series of lithographs to be published in order to get myself known.7 Moreover, it’s on your brother’s advice and under his auspices.
I’m going to buckle down to the portraits of the whole Schuffenecker family, he, his wife and his 2 children in vermilion aprons.8 It’s darned cold in Paris at the moment — in addition I’ve amused myself doing croquis at the market,9 and I’m going to get some porters from the market to pose with their big hats, carrying sacks and sides of meat. I’m carried away at top speed by it.
I don’t know if I’ll go to  1v:4 Brussels,10 everything will depend on the money situation, and that’s as clear as mud. In any case, if I go there I’ll remember the advice you gave me about it — I don’t know, for example, if my weak voice will be heard. In any case the common good interests me enormously, and I’ll try to do the right thing.

Cordially yours,


Br. 1990: 741 | CL: GAC 35
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, Thursday, 17 January 1889

1. For the studies Gauguin left behind, see letter 736, n. 12.
2. These might have included the sketchbook from Brittany and Arles of 1888 (Jerusalem, The Israel Museum), published as Le carnet de Paul Gauguin. (Gauguin 1952). Gauguin might also have taken that sketchbook with him to Paris; the sketch it contains of a guillotine could be connected with the execution of Prado which he witnessed there on 27 December 1888. See exhib. cat. Chicago 2001, p. 265.
3. In letter 734 Gauguin had asked Van Gogh to send his fencing masks and gloves. Vincent sent them at the end of April or beginning of May 1889 in a consignment of paintings to Theo (see letter 765).
4. This ‘unfortunate letter’ was the one Gauguin sent to Bernard’s sister Madeleine in mid-October 1888, in which he advised her to put off marrying, and first to earn her own livelihood. Her father, who had intercepted the letter, wrote an angry letter to Gauguin, who received it in Arles and forwarded it to Bernard. See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, pp. 256, 269, 510 (n. 295).
According to Bernard, Gauguin had fallen in love with Madeleine in Pont-Aven – she had been there from mid-August to mid-October 1888 – and was even intending to elope with her. Her father had, however, forbidden all contact between her and Gauguin. See Wildenstein 2001, pp. 444, 449. Gauguin must have told Van Gogh about this, as emerges from the lack of further explanation in the present letter and the reference to the letter from Bernard’s father in letter 817 of November 1889.
5. It is apparent from this passage and the one about exhibiting in Brussels that Gauguin is reacting to Van Gogh’s letter, which is no longer extant.
6. Gauguin had been staying with the Schuffenecker family (29 rue Boulard) since his return to Paris. Regarding his studio, see letter 734, n. 5.
7. Gauguin is referring to his series of ten ‘zincographies’ (1889), which he made after Theo had urged him to make lithographs. In January-February 1889 he had them printed in Paris by Edouard Ancourt with the title Dessins lithographiques Paul Gauguin. The series is also referred to as the ‘Suite Volpini’, after the 1889 exhibition at which they were displayed (cf. letter 779, n. 13). One example is Old maids of Arles, 1889 (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum). Ill. 2274 [2274].
8. Paul Gauguin, The Schuffenecker family, 1889 (W313) (Paris, Musée d’Orsay). Ill. 103 [103].
9. These sketches by Gauguin of the market are not known.
10. Gauguin had been invited to display his work at the sixth exhibition of the artists’ society Les Vingt in Brussels, and was toying with the idea of settling in Brussels (letter 723).