My dear Vincent
On my return from a little trip I found both your letter1 and your proof etching.2 De Haan and I had been to spend 5 days in Pont-Aven, my former residence which is 6 leagues from Le Pouldu.
Your letter doesn’t tell me very much: if you’ve seen my canvases in Paris at Goupil’s, what do you think of them! If my planned journey to Madagascar appears unreasonable to you. I dream of it every day, to the point where I’m scarcely working at all at the moment, wanting to rest a little, gain new strength for down there.  1r:2
And you, you’re insatiable; I see that you haven’t been losing any time in Auvers. It’s good, though, to rest the mind and the body sometimes.
Your idea of coming to Brittany at Le Pouldu seems excellent to me if it could be put into effect. For we are, De Haan and I, in a little hole far from the town. Without any communication other than a hired cart. And for a sick man who needs a doctor, it’s sometimes risky. At Pont-Aven it’s different, there’s a doctor and people. In addition, if I manage to sort things out to go to Madagascar I’ll no longer be here  1v:3 at the beginning of September, like De Haan, who’s going to go back to Holland. That, in all honesty, is the situation. And however God knows how much it would please me to see our friend Vincent close to us.
I don’t know Doctor Gachet but I’ve often heard père Pissarro speak of him. And it must be pleasant for you to have someone close to you who sympathizes with your work, your ideas.
Alas, I see myself condemned to be less and less understood, and I must hold fast to following  1v:4 my way alone, to drag out an existence without a family like a pariah. So the solitude in the woods seems to me in the future to be a new and almost dreamed-of paradise. The savage will return to savagery.
At last! Destiny once written cannot be overturned.
Friendly greetings from our friend De Haan.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 897 | CL: GAC 42
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Le Pouldu, on or about Saturday, 28 June 1890

1. This letter is Gauguin’s reaction to a new version (which has not survived) of RM23. Cf. Hulsker 1998, pp. 44-45. Around 7 July 1890, Gauguin informed Theo ‘I have had 2 quite calm letters from Vincent, which I enjoyed’ (j’ai eu 2 lettres de Vincent assez calmes qui m’ont fait plaisir) (FR b873). See Gauguin lettres 1983, p. 189.
Later Gauguin wrote in Avant et après: ‘The last letter I had was dated from Auvers, near Pontoise. He told me that he had hoped to recover sufficiently to come and meet me in Brittany, but that now he was forced to acknowledge the impossibility of a cure.
“Dear master (the only time he uttered this word), it is more worthy, after having known you and having caused you trouble, to die in a good state of mind than in a degraded state.”’ (La dernière lettre que j’ai eue était datée d’Auvers près Pontoise. Il me disait qu’il avait espéré guérir assez pour venir me retrouver en Bretagne, mais qu’aujourd’hui il était obligé de reconnaître l’impossibilité d’une guérison.
“Cher maître (la seule fois qu’il ait prononcé ce mot), il est plus digne après vous avoir connu et vous avoir fait de la peine, de mourir en bon état d’esprit qu’en état qui dégrade.”) See Gauguin 1923, pp. 23-24. The letter Gauguin claims to quote is not known.
2. This is the etching Doctor Gachet with a pipe (F 1664 / JH 2028 [2921]). The provenances of the various impressions do not reveal which one Gauguin received (see Van Heugten and Pabst 1995, p. 85).