Purchase cataloguePainted with Words is a compelling look at Vincent van Gogh's correspondence to his young colleague Émile Bernard between 1887 and 1889. Van Gogh's words and sketches reveal his thoughts about art and life and communicate his groundbreaking work in Arles to his fellow painter.
Van Gogh's letters to Bernard reveal the tenor of their relationship. Van Gogh assumed the role of an older, wiser brother, offering praise or criticism of Bernard's paintings, drawings, and poems. At the same time the letters chronicle van Gogh's own struggles, as he reached his artistic maturity in isolation in Arles and St. Rémy. Throughout the letters are no less than twelve sketches by van Gogh meant to provide Bernard with an idea of his work in progress, including studies related to the paintings The Langlois Bridge, Houses at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries, The Sower, and View of Arles at Sunset.
The translations used in this presentation are from the catalogue for the exhibition: Vincent van Gogh
Painted with Words, The Letters to Émile Bernard and are reproduced by kind permission of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.
Major support for Painted with Words: Vincent van Gogh's Letters to Émile Bernard and its accompanying catalogue was provided by the International Music and Art Foundation. Generous support was also provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 1 October 1888, Letter 17, page 1
My dear old Bernard,
I'm writing a line to thank you kindly for your drawings; I find them done in a bit too much of a
rush, and I like the two drawings of whores the most; but there's an idea in all of them. I've been
overloaded with work these past few days, because the weather's really beautiful and you have to
make the most of the fine days, which are short.
I can't alter the price that I quoted to you, 3 francs for food alone, and in addition, well, whatever
there would be on top of that. But I have no doubt that everything Gauguin tells you about
the prices down here is correct. But I see you near your departure to do your service, and would
like to be able to persuade your father to supply you with enough to strengthen you thoroughly
first, without your work suffering as a result.
Let him stump up at last, to the point of giving you whatever's fair during the interval between
now and your service.
I have not ceased writing this same thing to you all the time, that if you go to Africa you'll
work there and you'll see just the kind of