My dear Vincent –
Your letter had made me believe that you had gone back to the north, that’s to say Holland, and I didn’t reply, as I was awaiting your address.1
I’ve seen the canvas of Mrs Ginoux. Very fine and very curious, I like it better than my drawing.2
Despite your ailing state you have never worked with so much balance while conserving the sensation and the interior warmth needed for a work of art, precisely in an era when art is a business regulated in advance by cold calculations.
Do you remember our conversations of old in Arles when it was a question of founding the studio of the tropics.  1r:2 I’m on the point of carrying out this plan, if I obtain a small sum necessary to found the establishment. I’ll then go to Madagascar with a gentle, moneyless tribe that lives from the soil. I have very precise information from various sides. I’ll turn a little earthen and wooden hut into a comfortable house with my ten fingers; I’ll plant all things for food there myself, hens, cows etc.... and in a short time I’ll have my material life assured there. Those who want to come there later will find all the materials there for working with very few expenses.3 And the studio of the tropics will perhaps form the St John the Baptist of the painting of the future,4  1v:3 re-immersed there in a more natural, more primitive and above all less putrefied life.
At this moment I’d willingly give all my canvases at 100 francs each to succeed in realizing my dream.
In Madagascar I’m sure of having the calm necessary for good work.
For the moment I’m going to spend two months in Brittany with De Haan.
Still the same address at Le Pouldu, near Quimperlé (Finistère).
Let’s hope that you’re going to manage to recover completely in Auvers.  1v:4

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 890 | CL: GAC 41
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, on or about Friday, 13 June 1890

1. This letter to Gauguin is not known.
2. Theo had three versions of Marie Ginoux (‘The Arlésienne’). Gauguin, however, speaks of one canvas in particular, so he must be referring to the version that came into his possession: F 542 / JH 1894 [2893]. After all, Vincent had asked Theo at the end of April to give Gauguin a version (see letter 863). For Gauguin’s drawing, Madame Ginoux (study for ‘Night café, Arles’) [97], on which Van Gogh based the portrait, see letter 856, n. 4.
[2893] [97]
3. Gauguin also tried to interest Bernard in his plan (which he never carried out) to settle in Madagascar. See Gauguin lettres 1946, pp. 186-192.
4. Saint John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.
a. Read: ‘Haan’.