Vincent van Gogh - The Sower 1888

The Sower 1888
The Sower
Oil on canvas 72.0 x 91.5 cm. Arles: October, 1888
Winterthur: Villa Flora

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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Monday, 7 May 1888.
My dear Theo.
I’m writing to you again today because, when I wanted to pay my bill at the hotel where I’m staying, I realized once again that I was being fleeced there. I offered to come to some arrangement with them, they weren’t willing to, so when I wanted to take my things they prevented me.
That’s all very well, but then I told them we’d explain it all in front of the justice of the peace — who’ll perhaps say I’m in the wrong.
Only now it means I have to keep enough money to pay in case it’s said that I’m in the wrong, 67.40 francs instead of the 40 francs I owe them. And that means I daren’t buy my mattress and I’ll also have to sleep at another hotel.

So I wanted to ask you to put me in a position where I could buy my mattress anyway.
What often makes me sad is that it’s more expensive than I’d calculated. And that I don’t manage to get by on the same expenses as those who have gone to Brittany, Bernard and Gauguin.
Since I’m feeling better now I really don’t consider myself defeated, and besides, if I’d had my health, which I hope to get back here, that and many other things wouldn’t happen to me.
The crate would have gone off already if I hadn’t had problems all day long.
I say to myself you’ve still received none of my work and I’ve already spent so much money. I’m sending you now in the crate all the studies I have, apart from a few I destroyed, but I’m not signing them all, and there are a dozen that I’ve taken off their stretching frames and there are 14 on stretching frames.
There’s a small landscape with a tumbledown house in white, red, green and a cypress beside it — you have the drawing of it and I painted it entirely at home. That should prove to you that if it suited you, I could make little paintings like Japanese prints out of all these drawings. Anyway, we’ll talk about it when you’ve had a look.
For the moment it’s annoying that it means I’m more or less forced to take the step of living at the studio but in time it will mean there’s more peace and quiet for work. Anyway, once these first studies have gone off I’ll start a new series.
I had explained all this business to you in the letters that are still in Paris.
All the same, I had intended to stay with these people until I was ready. Well, it doesn’t matter.
I still want to try and get my crate sent off today.
I hope you’ll write soon.
Ever yours,