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710 To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Monday, 22 October 1888.

metadata
No. 710 (Brieven 1990 715, Complete Letters 551)
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, Monday, 22 October 1888

Source status
Original manuscript

Location
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b595 V/1962

Date
The letter was written shortly after letter 709 of 21 October. In that one Van Gogh said that he would take three days off; in the present letter he reports that he has done a painting after all, so it is very unlikely to have been written the same day. He asks, as he did in letter 709, for another 50 francs (l. 101), and says he expects Gauguin ‘any day now’ (l. 72). Since Gauguin arrived at just after five in the morning of 23 October, the letter must have been written before this. Theo did not respond to this letter in his letter of 23 October (711), but he did reply to 709. For all these reasons we have dated the present letter Monday, 22 October 1888.

Ongoing topics
Gauguin coming to Arles (602)
Van Gogh’s ambition to exhibit work at the 1889 World Exhibition (590)

original text
 1r:1
Mon cher Theo
j’ai encore une toile de 30, jardin d’automne, deux cyprès verts bouteille et forme bouteille, trois petits marronniers au feuillage havane et orangé. Un petit if à feuillage de citron pâle au tronc violet.
deux petits buissons aux feuillage rouge sang & pourpre écarlate.
un peu de sable, un peu de gazon, un peu de ciel bleu.1
Voilà je m’étais pourtant juré de ne pas travailler.2 Mais c’est tous les jours comme cela, en passant je trouve des choses parfois si belles qu’enfin il faut pourtant chercher à les faire.
Eh bien l’argent que tu me donnes et que d’ailleurs je te demande plus que jamais, je te le rendrai en travail et non seulement le present mais aussi le passé.
Mais laisse moi travailler tant que ce ne soit pas absolument impossible.
Car si je ne profite pas des occasions ce serait encore bien pire.
Ah mon cher frère si je pouvais faire une telle chôse ou si Gauguin et moi à deux pouvaient en faire de telles chôses que Seurat se joigne à nous!
 1v:2
Mais à mon avis il faut au bas mot lui compter ses grands tableaux des poseuses et de la Grande Jatte3 mais – voyons – à 5000 chaque mettons... Eh bien si nous nous combinerions, Gauguin et moi devrions chacun aussi etre capables d’un apport de 10 mille nominal.
Cela tombe encore une fois juste d’aplomb avec ce que je te disais, que je voulais absolument absolument faire pour la maison 10 mille francs de peinture.4 Enfin, c’est drôle, quoique je ne calcule pas avec des chiffres mais avec des sentiments je tombe si souvent dans les mêmes résultats en partant de points de vues absolument divergents.
Je n’ose pas y songer, je n’ose encore rien dire pour cette combinaison Seurat. Je dois d’abord chercher à mieux connaitre Gauguin. Avec qui dans aucun cas on peut mal.
 1v:3
Ecoutez encore. Dès que tu pourras et meme aussitôt si la chôse serait possible il faudrait encore 10 mètres toile à fr 2.50.
Ensuite gros tubes comme le blanc d’argent et le blanc de zinc.

blanc de zinc  20  tubes  des  plus  gros 
,, d’argent  10 ,, ,, ,, ,,
Jaune  chrome I 10 ,, ,, ,, ,,
,,       ,,       2  5 ,, ,, ,, ,,
Bleu de Prusse 5  
Laque Géranium 10 tubes moyens
Vert Véronèse 10 tubes les plus gros

Eh bien je dois pourtant dire que cela m’étonnerait absolument que nous ne fussions pas à même de vaincre N’IMPORTE QUELLES difficultés de production.
Mais à plus fortes raison les présentes. Si cela clochait il faudrait tenir conseil aussitôt Gauguin venu ce qui j’espère sera du jour au lendemain.
Je crois possible que cela chauffera joliment à l’exposition de 89.
 1r:4
Si ca ne chauffait pas ce serait peut etre plus commode mais enfin il faudra bien prendre les choses comme elles viendront.
à propos, as tu jamais lu les frères Zemganno des de Goncourt.5 Si non lis le. Si je n’avais pas lu cela j’oserais peut être davantage. et même après l’avoir lu la SEULE crainte que j’aie c’est de te demander trop d’argent. Si moi-meme me casserais dans un effort cela ne me ferait absolument rien du tout. Pour ce cas-là j’ai encore de la ressource car je ferais ou bien du commerce ou bien j’écrirais mais tant que je suis dans la peinture je ne vois que l’association de plusieurs et la vie en commun.
La chûte des feuilles commence, les arbres jaunissent à vue, le jaune augmentant tous les jours.
C’est au moins aussi beau que les vergers en fleur et pour le travail que nous fassions j’oserais croire que bien loin d’y perdre nous pourrions y gagner. Mais enfin.
Dans tous les cas je te prie de m’envoyer par retour du courrier et certes pas plus tard encore quelqu’argent (50 si possible et sans cela moins). Et si tu n’aurais pas le temps d’écrire je te prierais de l’envoyer par mandat. que ce soit plus ou que ce soit moins, comme tu pourrais. Je te serre bien la main.

t.à.t
Vincent

translation
 1r:1
My dear Theo
I have another no. 30 canvas, autumn garden, two bottle-green and bottle-shaped cypresses, three little chestnut trees with tobacco-coloured and orange foliage. A small yew with pale lemon foliage, with purple trunk.
Two small bushes with blood-red and scarlet purple foliage.
A little sand, a little lawn, a little blue sky.1
There you are, and yet I’d sworn not to work!2 But it’s like that every day, sometimes in passing I find such beautiful things that in the end you have to try to do them anyway.
Ah well, the money that you give me and which, besides, I’m asking from you more than ever, I’ll return it to you in work, and not only the present but the past as well.
But let me work as long as it isn’t absolutely impossible.
Because if I don’t take advantage of the opportunities, it would be even worse.
Ah, my dear brother, if I could do such a thing, or if Gauguin and I together could do such things that Seurat would join us!  1v:2
But in my opinion, at the very least we must reckon his large paintings of the models and the Grande Jatte3 but — let’s see — at 5,000 each, shall we say... Ah well, if we were to join together, Gauguin and I should each also be capable of a nominal contribution of 10 thousand.
Once again that falls right in line with what I was telling you, that I wished absolutely absolutely to do 10 thousand francs worth of painting for the house.4 Well, it’s funny, although I don’t calculate in figures but in feelings, I so often happen upon the same results while starting from totally divergent standpoints.
I daren’t dream about it, I daren’t say any more about this Seurat partnership. First I must try to get to know Gauguin better. With whom one can’t go wrong, no matter what.  1v:3
And listen to this. As soon as you can, and even right away if the thing were possible, I need another 10 metres of canvas at 2.50 francs.
Then large tubes like the silver white and zinc white.

zinc white  20  of  the  largest  tubes 
Silver  ,,  10 ,, ,, ,, ,,
Chrome  Yellow I 10 ,, ,, ,, ,,
,,       ,,      2  5 ,, ,, ,, ,,
Prussian Blue 5  
Geranium Lake 10 medium tubes
Veronese Green 10 largest tubes

Ah well, I must say nevertheless that it would absolutely astonish me if we weren’t able to overcome NO MATTER WHAT difficulties of production.
But the present ones all the more so. If it went wrong we’d have to have deliberations as soon as Gauguin arrived, which I hope will be any day now.
I believe it possible that things could get jolly lively at the ’89 exhibition.  1r:4
It might be better if they didn’t get lively, but after all, we’ll just have to take things as they come.
By the way, have you ever read Les frères Zemganno, by the De Goncourts?5 If not, read it. If I hadn’t read it I would perhaps be more daring. And even after reading it, the ONLY fear that I have is of asking you for too much money. If myself I were to break myself down in the effort, it would mean absolutely nothing to me. I still have resources for that eventuality, because I would either go into the business or I would write, but as long as I’m in painting I see nothing but the association of several people, and the communal life.
The leaves are starting to fall; the trees are visibly yellowing, the yellow increasing every day.
It’s at least as beautiful as the orchards in blossom, and as for the work that we may do, I dare believe that indeed far from losing by it, we could gain by it. But anyway.
In any case, would you please send me some more money (50 if possible, and otherwise less) by return of post and certainly no later. And if you didn’t have time to write, I’d ask you please to send it by money order, whether it’s more, or less, as you were able. I shake your hand firmly.

Ever yours,
Vincent
notes
1. The public garden (F 472 / JH 1598 ).
2. In letter 709 Van Gogh said that he did not intend to paint for at least three days.
3. Georges Seurat, Models, 1886-1888 (Merion, The Barnes Foundation). Ill. 2234 . See letter 669, n. 5, for La Grande Jatte (Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte) . Van Gogh probably saw these works in Seurat’s studio; see letter 589, n. 19.
4. Van Gogh wrote in letter 700 that his decoration would have to be worth 10,000 francs to get back the money he had spent. He mentioned the same sum in letter 607 as the amount he wanted to earn, apparently as compensation for the money he had cost Theo.
5. See letter 702, n. 3, for Edmond de Goncourt’s Les frères Zemganno.