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,Paris, ca. December 1887, Letter 1, page 4
too anemic or too agitated if you want to emerge from it stronger.
I do not see it as a very great misfortune for you that you have to join the army but as a very
grave ordeal, from which, if you emerge from it, you'll emerge a very great artist. Until then, do all
you can to build yourself up, because you'll need quite a bit of spirit. If you work hard that year, I
believe that you may well succeed in having a fair stock of canvases, some of which we'll try to sell
for you, knowing that you'll need pocket money to pay for models.
I 'll gladly do all I can to make a success of what was started in the dining room, but I believe
that the first condition for success is to put aside petty jealousies; it's only unity that makes
strength. It's well worth sacrificing selfishness, the "each man for himself," in the common interest.