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, 15 July 1888, Letter 10, page 1
My dear old Bernard.
Perhaps you will be disposed to forgive me for not having replied to your letter straightaway, seeing
that I'm attaching a small batch of sketches to this one.
In the sketch The Garden, there is perhaps something like "the shaggy carpets of flowers and
woven greenery" of Crivelli or Virelli, doesn't much matter. Ah, well—in any case I wanted to reply
to your quotations with my pen, but not by writing words. Today, too, I don't have much of a head for
discussion; I'm up to my ears in work.
Have made large pen drawings—2—an immense flat expanse of country—seen in bird's-eye view
from the top of a hill—vineyards, reaped fields of wheat, all of it multiplied endlessly, streaming away
like the surface of a sea toward the horizon bounded by the hillocks of La Crau.
It does NOT look Japanese, and it's actually the most Japanese thing that I've done.