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,5 August 1888, Letter 14, page 5
Personally, I find continence is quite good for me. It's enough for our weak, impressionable
artists' brains to give their essence to the creation of our paintings. Because in thinking, calculating,
wearing ourselves out, we expend cerebral activity.
Why exert ourselves in spending all our creative juices when those who pimp for a living
and even their simple, well-fed clients work more to the satisfaction of the genital organs of the
registered whore in this case than we do? The whore in question has my sympathy more than my
Being exiled, a social outcast, as artists like you and I surely are, also "outcasts," she is surely
therefore our friend and sister. And finding—in this position—of outcast—the same as us—an
independence that is not without its advantages—all things considered—let's not adopt a false
position by believing we're serving her through social rehabilitation, which is in any case impractical
and would be fatal for her.