My dear sister,
I’m dropping you a line in haste so as not to wait any longer to tell you how much it delights me that you’re in Paris, and I imagine you’ll be seeing a great deal of it these days. Next year, when I’m living with my friend Gauguin, it’s not exactly impossible that it might be that you could also come as far as the Mediterranean. I believe you’d find it so beautiful here.
What do you think of the painting of those negresses by Gauguin that Theo has?1 I could imagine that you’ll understand it.
At the moment I’m working on a bouquet of 12 sunflowers in a yellow earthenware pot,2 and have a plan to decorate the whole studio with nothing but sunflowers.
I hope that you’ll often go and look at the Luxembourg and the modern paintings in the Louvre so that you get an idea of what a Millet, a Jules Breton, a Daubigny, a Corot is. You can keep the rest. Except — Delacroix.
Although people are now working in yet another very different manner, the work of Delacroix, of Millet, of Corot, that remains and the changes don’t affect it.
I hope that you’ll take some study of mine with you for your room when you go back to Holland.3
If I can get the mother and father to agree to let me paint it, then I’ll do a child in a cradle one of these days.4 The father didn’t want to have it baptized — he’s a staunch revolutionary, and when the family complained, possibly on account of the christening feast, then he said that the christening feast would go ahead after all, but that he would baptize it himself. Then he sang the Marseillaise hideously and named the child Marcelle, like the daughter of the good General Boulanger,5 to the great vexation of this innocent child’s grandmother6 and other members of the family.
The longer I’m here the more beautiful I find the countryside. Have you read Tartarin de Tarascon by Daudet? Be sure to, and Tartarin sur les Alpes, for they’re certainly not the least of Daudet’s novels.7
You’ll certainly notice that in the summer in Paris the sun shines much more strongly than at home.
There’s a similar difference again between Paris and here.
I wouldn’t mind going a bit further, though, where the land isn’t as flat, as I’ve actually never seen a mountain in my life. We’ll do that sometime when Gauguin’s here. But I’ll stay here in Arles until then. And, as soon as he comes, would like to go on a walking tour together all over Provence.
I’m busy with my sunflowers, and in fact can think of nothing to say, so I’ll just end, wishing Theo and you really good days and fine weather.