[The letter has no salutation]
your sunflowers on a yellow background1 which I regard as a perfect page of an essential ‘Vincent’ style. At your brother’s home I saw your Sower,2 which is very good, as well as a yellow still life, apples and lemons.3 Your brother gave me a lithographed reproduction of an old painting of yours, Dutch – very interesting as regards colour in the drawing.4 In my studio5 next to your portrait.6
The grape harvests7 are totally covered in scales as a result of the white which has separated. I’ve stuck all of it back down using  1r:2 a process shown to me by the reliner.8 If I tell you about it it’s because the thing is easy to do and can be very good for those of your canvases that need retouching – you stick newspapers on your canvas with flour paste. Once dry, you put your canvas on a smooth board and with very hot irons you press down hard on it. All the breaks in your colour will remain but will be flattened down and you’ll have a very fine surface. Afterwards you soak your paper covering well and take off all the paper.
That’s largely the whole secret of relining.  1v:3
Thank Roulin for thinking of me. I have indeed received my stretcher keys9 – at the next opportunity if you can send me by parcel post my 2 fencing masks and gloves,10 which I left on the shelf in the little upstairs room.
Friendly wishes from me to everyone.

Cordially yours,

At Mr Schuffenecker’s
29 rue Boulard –


Br. 1990: 739 | CL: GAC 34
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Paris, between Tuesday, 8 and Wednesday, 16 January 1889

1. Sunflowers in a vase (F 454 / JH 1562 [2704]). See Van Tilborgh and Hendriks 2001, p. 21. It emerges from letter 736 that Gauguin wanted this canvas; he must have asked for it in the missing part of the present letter. Van Gogh’s answer to the present letter has not survived, but that he did indeed reply is apparent from Gauguin’s letter 737).
2. Sower with setting sun (F 422 / JH 1470 [2646]); the other canvases with sowers were still in Arles.
3. Quinces, lemons, pears and grapes (F 383 / JH 1339 [2557]).
4. The lithograph The potato eaters (F 1661 / JH 737 [2135]) after the painting The potato eaters (F 82 / JH 764 [2510]).
[2135] [2510]
5. On 5 January Gauguin had rented a studio at 16 rue Saint-Gothard. See exhib. cat. Washington 1988, p. 46.
6. Self-portrait (F 476 / JH 1581 [2715]).
8. The identity of this reliner is not known. This could refer to Contet, who in 1886 had taken over the business of Mrs Latouche; in any case, Gauguin had had canvases relined there in 1883. See letter 776, n. 30.
9. It is possible that with ‘clefs’ Gauguin meant the wedges used to tension a stretcher, but he could also have meant the stretchers themselves (‘chassis à clefs’).
10. Gauguin practised fencing and had given fencing lessons in Pont-Aven. In Avant et après he writes in detail on the art of fencing, boasting about his talent for it. See Gauguin 1923, pp. 188-196.