My dear Theo —
At last I’m sending you a little croquis to give you at least an idea of the direction the work is taking. Because today I’ve gone back to it.
My eyes are still tired, but anyway I had a new idea in mind, and here’s the croquis of it. No. 30 canvas once again.
This time it’s simply my bedroom, but the colour has to do the job here, and through its being simplified by giving a grander style to things, to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general. In short, looking at the painting should rest the mind, or rather, the imagination.1
The walls are of a pale violet. The floor — is of red tiles.
The bedstead and the chairs are fresh butter yellow.
The sheet and the pillows very bright lemon green.
The blanket scarlet red.
The window green.
The dressing table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that’s all — nothing in this bedroom, with its shutters closed.
The solidity of the furniture should also now express unshakeable repose.
Portraits on the wall, and a mirror and a hand-towel and some clothes.
The frame — as there’s no white in the painting — will be white.
This to take my revenge for the enforced rest that I was obliged to take.
I’ll work on it again all day tomorrow, but you can see how simple the idea is. The shadows and cast shadows are removed; it’s coloured in flat, plain tints like Japanese prints.
It will contrast, for example, with the Tarascon diligence2 and the night café.3  1v:2
I won’t write to you at length, because I’m going to start very early tomorrow with the fresh morning light, to finish my canvas.
How are your pains? Don’t forget to give me news about them.
I hope you’ll write in the next few days.
One day I’ll do you some croquis of the other rooms as well.
I shake your hand firmly.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 710 | CL: 554
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Arles, Tuesday, 16 October 1888

1. The enclosed sketch The bedroom (F - / JH 1609) is after the painting of the same title F 482 / JH 1608 [2735]. There is a note on the back, probably written by Jo van Gogh-Bonger: ‘Arles Oct 1888’. The sketch differs in some respects from the painting (there is a portrait above the bed rather than a landscape, the hat hangs on the left and in F 482 it is on the right, and the washbasin under the small table is absent in F 482). So Van Gogh probably made changes to his painting after he did the sketch; in letter 706 to Gauguin he sketched it in its finished state.
2. The Tarascon stagecoach (F 478a / JH 1605 [2733]).
3. The night café (F 463 / JH 1575 [2711]).