Paul Gauguin to Vincent van Gogh. Pont-Aven, between about Saturday, 17 and about Monday, 19 March 1888.
My dear Vincent
Thank you for replying; I see that you’re in a good spot to study the sun that enchants you, and you’re working all the better because the subject grips you. Thank you again for your good will towards me; the trade in paintings is so hard in our day and age. Despite that, I’m in a state of constant agony here; money worries are the only ones that have an effect on me, and unfortunately I believe I’m fated always to suffer from them.
Pont-Aven is very dreary at the moment because of the bad weather, continual wind and rain, and I’m waiting for the fine days to get back to work, which I’ve neglected a bit owing to illness.
A cordial handshake.
Pont-Aven — Pension Gloanec
To Emile Bernard. Arles, Sunday, 18 March 1888.
My dear Bernard,
Having promised to write to you, I want to begin by telling you that this part of the world seems to me as beautiful as Japan for the clearness of the atmosphere and the gay colour effects. The stretches of water make patches of a beautiful emerald and a rich blue in the landscapes, as we see it in the Japanese prints. Pale orange sunsets making the fields look blue — glorious yellow suns. However, so far I’ve hardly seen this part of the world in its usual summer splendour. The women’s costume is pretty, and especially on the boulevard on Sunday you see some very naive and well-chosen arrangements of colour. And that, too, will doubtless get even livelier in summer.
I regret that living here isn’t as cheap as I’d hoped, and until now I haven’t found a way of getting by as easily as one could do in Pont-Aven. I started out paying 5 francs and now I’m on 4 francs a day. One would need to know the local patois, and know how to eat bouillabaisse and aïoli, then one would surely find an inexpensive family boarding-house. Then if there were several of us, I’m inclined to believe we’d get more favourable terms. Perhaps there’d be a real advantage in emigrating to the south for many artists in love with sunshine and colour. The Japanese may not be making progress in their country, but there’s no doubt that their art is being carried on in France. At the top of this letter I’m sending you a little croquis of a study that’s preoccupying me as to how to make something of it — sailors coming back with their sweethearts towards the town, which projects the strange silhouette of its drawbridge against a huge yellow sun.
I have another study of the same drawbridge with a group of washerwomen. Shall be happy to have a line from you to know what you’re doing and where you’re going to go. A very warm handshake to you and the friends.