To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Tuesday, 29 or Wednesday, 30 May 1888.
My dear Theo,
If the roll isn’t too big to be accepted at the post office, you’ll receive another large pen drawing that I’d very much like the Pissarros to see if they come on Sunday. I’ve just received part of the order for colours, and I thank you very much for it.
I leave early tomorrow morning for Saintes-Maries, on the Mediterranean; I’ll stay there till Saturday evening.
I’m taking two canvases but I’m a little afraid there could well be too much wind to paint. You go by diligence, it’s 50 kilometres from here. You cross the Camargue, grassy plains where there are herds of bulls and herds of small white horses, half-wild and quite beautiful.
I’m taking everything I need in order to draw, especially. I have to draw a lot, for the very reason you were speaking of in your last letter — things here have so much style. And I want to arrive at a more deliberate and exaggerated way of drawing.
I’m still a little worried about your plans for travelling, or rather, the proposals about travelling they’re putting to you. Travelling wears you out, and most of all, it unsettles the brain more than can be good for you. In any case, I’d feel it was my fault, telling myself that it’s my needs for money that are driving you to it. No — it’s not good. Then I say to myself that nevertheless we can begin to hope that soon I’ll be selling one or two paintings a month — BECAUSE THINGS WILL GET BETTER. So keep them waiting and talk about it with Gruby, who I dare believe will prefer it if you took things quietly for a year.
If I’m wrong about it, and if Gruby tells you a change would be good — but that can’t be the case.
I’ve written to Gauguin, and I only said I was sorry we worked so far from each other, and that it was a pity that several painters hadn’t joined together for a campaign.
We have to count on it taking years, perhaps, before Impressionist paintings have a firm value, and so to help him we’ll have to see it as a long-term business. But he has such a fine talent, an association with him would be a step forward for us.
I told you very seriously that if you wish, I’ll go to America with you, if, though, this journey was a long one and if it’s worth the trouble.
For our part, we have to try not to be ill, because if we were — we’re more isolated than, for example, the poor concierge who’s just died — these people have a circle of people around them — and see the comings and goings of the household and live in stupidity.
But we’re alone there with our thoughts and would sometimes wish to be stupid.
Given the bodies we have, we need to live with pals.
Included herewith a few lines to say goodbye to Koning.
I have to do things that could get someone like Thomas, for example, to join you in letting those who’ll go here, work here. Then Gauguin would certainly come, I think.
Handshake, and many thanks for the colours.
It would be risking a lot to take on Gauguin, but that’s the direction in which we have to work, and I have hopes that you’ll get help from Tersteeg, Thomas, I don’t know from whom, but I hope.