Letter 3, page 1

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Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 12 April 1888, Letter 3, page 1

Pen and brown/black ink on two sheets of cream, machine-made laid paper

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

MA 6441.3

My dear old Bernard,
Thanks for your kind letter and the sketch of your decoration included with it, which I find really
amusing. I sometimes regret that I can't decide to work more at home and from the imagination.
Certainly—imagination is a capacity that must be developed, and only that enables us to create a
more exalting and consoling nature than what just a glance at reality (which we perceive changing,
passing quickly like lightning) allows us to perceive.

A starry sky, for example, well—it's a thing that I should like to try to do, just as in the daytime
I'll try to paint a green meadow studded with dandelions.

But how to arrive at that unless I decide to work at home and from the imagination? This,
then, to criticize myself and to praise you.

At present I am busy with the fruit trees in blossom: pink peach trees, yellow-white pear trees.

© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam