Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 18 March 1888, Letter 2, page 2
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
I regret that living here isn't as cheap as I'd hoped, and until now I haven't found a way of getting
by as easily as one could in Pont-Aven. I started out paying 5 francs and now I'm on 4 francs
a day. One would need to know the local patois, and know how to eat bouillabaisse and aioli, then
one would surely find an inexpensive family boardinghouse. Then if there were several of us, I'm
inclined to believe we would get more favorable terms. Perhaps there would be a real advantage in
emigrating to the south for many artists in love with sunshine and color. The Japanese may not be
making progress in their country, but there is no doubt that their art is being carried on in France.
At the top of this letter I am sending you a little sketch of a study that is preoccupying me as to
how to make something of it—sailors coming back with their sweethearts toward the town, which
projects the strange silhouette of its drawbridge against a huge yellow sun.
I have another study of the same drawbridge with a group of washerwomen. Shall be happy to
have a line from you to know what you're doing and where you're going to go. A very warm handshake
to you and the friends.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam