Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 5 August 1888, Letter 14, page 6
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
I have just made a portrait of a postman—or rather, two portraits even—Socratic type, no
less Socratic for being something of an alcoholic, and with a high color as a result. His wife had
just given birth, the good fellow was glowing with satisfaction. He's a fierce republican, like père
Tanguy. Goddamn, what a subject to paint à la Daumier, eh? He was getting too stiff while posing,
and that's why I painted him twice, the second time at a single sitting, on white canvas, background
blue, almost white, in the face all the broken tones: yellow, green, purples, pinks, reds, the uniform
Prussian blue trimmed with yellow.
Write to me soon if you feel like it; am very encumbered and have not yet found time for figure
Cézanne is as much a respectably married man as the old Dutchmen were. If he has a good hard-on
in his work it's because he's not overly dissipated through riotous living.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam