Letter 16, page 3

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Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 25 September 1888, Letter 16, page 3

Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007

MA 6441.14

And what if the thing that would tempt you the most—painting in the brothels—which is
certainly excellent—could not after all be done here for free? Wait for that until you have your uniform,
then; here and elsewhere, soldiers can do a whole lot of things in it for free. I, for example—
it's true that I've just done that study of a night café—but that, although it's a house of assignation,
and from time to time you see a whore sitting there at a table with her fellow—I myself, I say,
I haven't yet been able to do a brothel as such, precisely because it would cost me more money than
I'm forced to have, to do it reasonably well and seriously
. And that I refrain from beginning it before I
feel sufficiently sure, as far as the wallet goes, of being able to complete that painting properly. Now,
all right. We'd drink some glasses of beer in there, we'd meet people there; we'd work half from the
imagination, half with a model. And if we wanted to, I'm not saying that it might not be possible
to do it. But I for one,

© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam