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.1
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  1v:2 and I’ll also have to sleep at another hotel.2
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.  1v:3
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,3 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.4
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.5 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.  1r:4 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.6
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,


Br. 1990: 608 | CL: 484
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, Monday, 7 May 1888

a. Read: ‘séjourne’.
1. Van Gogh thought his bill was too high and appealed to the justice of the peace. According to what Mrs Carrel of the hotel of the same name recalled later, the dispute was based on a misunderstanding: ‘there would have been no disagreement about the price; however Vincent would have wanted to pay when the Carrels were eating; he would have been asked to wait until later; at which point Vincent would have gone to the “justice of the peace” to hand over the amount owed!’ (il n’y aurait pas eu de désaccord quant au prix; toutefois Vincent aurait voulu payer au moment où le ménage Carrel se trouvait à table; on lui aurait fait remarquer qu’il aurait pu remettre cela à plus tard; sur ce, Vincent se serait rendu chez le “juge de paix” pour lui confier la somme due!) (see Stokvis 1929, p. 4).
2. Van Gogh stayed at Café de la Gare, 30 place Lamartine, until 17 September, when he took up residence in the Yellow House. The proprietors of the café were Joseph Ginoux and his wife Marie. We learn from letters 656 and 691 that Van Gogh was staying in this café.
3. Among these destroyed works were a study of a drawbridge, of which only a fragment is known (see letter 589), a large painting of a cherry tree (see letter 599), and possibly a few studies of orchards (see letter 590, n. 4 and letter 592, n. 4).
4. This first consignment of at least 26 paintings from Arles must in any event have included the twelve studies referred to in letter 585, with the exception of Landscape with snow (F 290 / JH 1360 [2564]), which Van Gogh kept for the moment (see letter 611, n. 4). Those studies were: [1] The Langlois bridge with washerwomen (F 397 / JH 1368 [2571]), [2] The Gleize bridge with washerwomen (F 396 / JH 1367 [2570]), [3] Avenue of plane trees (F 398 / JH 1366 [2569]), [4] An old woman of Arles (F 390 / JH 1357 [2561]), [5] View of a butcher’s shop (F 389 / JH 1359 [2563]), [6] Landscape with snow (F 391 / JH 1358 [2562]), [7] Sprig of almond blossom in a glass (F 392 / JH 1361 [2565]), [8] Sprig of almond blossom in a glass with a book (F 393 / JH 1362 [2566]), [9] Basket of oranges (F 395 / JH 1363 [2567]), [10] an unidentified study (see letter 580), and [11] Pollard willows with setting sun (F 572 / JH 1597 [2727]). The Langlois bridge (F 400 / JH 1371 [2573]) must also have been in this batch (letter 589).
There were also the 13 paintings of orchards mentioned in letter 600: [1] The pink peach tree (F 404 / JH 1391 [2588]), [2] The pink orchard (F 555 / JH 1380 [2578]), [3] The white orchard (F 403 / JH 1378 [2576]), [4] Small pear tree in blossom (F 405 / JH 1394 [2590]), [5] Orchard with apricot trees in blossom (F 553 / JH 1387 [2585]), [6] Orchard with apricot trees in blossom (F 556 / JH 1383 [2581]), [7] Orchard bordered by cypresses (F 513 / JH 1389 [2587]), [8] Orchard with peach trees in blossom (F 551 / JH 1396 [2591]), [9] Orchard (F 552 / JH 1381 [2579]), [10] Orchard with pear trees in blossom (F 406 / JH 1399 [2594]), [11] Orchard bordered by cypresses (F 554 / JH 1388 [2586]), [12] Peach tree in blossom (F 557 / JH 1397 [2592]) and [13] Peach tree in blossom (F 399 / JH 1398 [0]).
It emerges from letter 608 that Pink peach trees (‘Souvenir de Mauve’) (F 394/ JH 1379) and The Langlois bridge with washerwomen (F 571 / JH 1392 [2589]) were also sent. It is not possible to determine which works were sent on stretching frames and which without.
[2564] [2571] [2570] [2569] [2561] [2563] [2562] [2565] [2566] [2567] [2727] [2573] [2588] [2578] [2576] [2590] [2585] [2581] [2587] [2591] [2579] [2594] [2586] [2592] [0] [966] [2589]
5. The painting is Landscape with a path and pollard willows (F 407 / JH 1402 [2595]); the drawing that served as the example for the painting, Landscape with a path and pollard willows (F 1499 / JH 1372 [2574]), dated March 1888 by Van Gogh, was probably in the first batch of drawings sent to Theo at the end of April. See letter 602.
[2595] [2574]
b. Read: ‘demeurer’.
6. These were letters 602, 603 and 604, of which the latter two may have been sent together.