Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 29 July 1888, Letter 12, page 1
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
My dear old Bernard,
A thousand thanks for sending your drawings; I very much like the avenue of plane trees beside the
sea with two women chatting in the foreground and the promenaders. Also
the woman under the apple tree
the woman with the parasol
then the four drawings of nude women, especially the one washing herself, a gray effect embellished
with black, white, yellow, brown. It's charming.
Ah . . . Rembrandt . . . all admiration for Baudelaire aside—I venture to assume, especially on the
basis of those verses . . . that he knew more or less nothing about Rembrandt. I have just found and
bought here a little etching after Rembrandt, a study of a nude man, realistic and simple; he's standing,
leaning against a door or column in a dark interior. A ray of light from above skims his downturned
face and the bushy red hair.
You'd think it a Degas for the body, true and felt in its animality.
But see, have you ever looked closely at "The Ox" or the Interior of a Butcher's Shop in the Louvre?
You haven't looked closely at them, and Baudelaire infinitely less so.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam