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, 29 July 1888, Letter 12, page 4
I'm showing you a painter who dreams and who paints from the imagination, and I started off by
claiming that the character of the Dutch is that they invent nothing, that they have neither imagination
Am I illogical? No. Rembrandt invented nothing, and that angel and that strange Christ; it's—
that he knew them, felt them there.
Delacroix paints a Christ using an unexpected light lemon note, this colorful and luminous note
in the painting being what the ineffable strangeness and charm of a star is in a corner of the firmament.
Rembrandt works with values in the same way as Delacroix with colors.
Now, there's a gulf between the method of Delacroix and Rembrandt and that of all the rest of
I 'll write to you again soon. This to thank you for your drawings, which give me enormous pleasure.
Have just finished portrait of young girl of twelve, brown eyes, black hair and eyebrows, flesh yellow
gray, the background white, strongly tinged with veronese, jacket blood-red with violet stripes, skirt
blue with large orange spots, an oleander flower in her sweet little hand.
I'm so worn out from it that I hardly have a head for writing. So long, and again, many thanks.