Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 19 April 1888, Letter 4, page 3
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
Saw a brothel here on Sunday (not to mention the other days), a large room tinged with a bluish
limewash—like a village school—a good fifty or so red soldiers and black civilians, with faces
of a magnificent yellow or orange (what tones in the faces down here), the women in sky blue, in
vermilion, everything that's of the purest and gaudiest. All of it in yellow light. Far less gloomy
than the establishments of the same kind in Paris. Spleen is not in the air down here. At present I'm
still keeping very quiet and very calm, because first I have to get over a stomach ailment of which
I am the happy owner, but afterwards I'll have to make a lot of noise, because I aspire to share the
renown of the immortal Tartarin de Tarascon.
It interested me enormously that you intend spending your time in Algeria. That's perfect and
a hell of a long way from being a misfortune. Truly, I congratulate you on it. We'll see each other in
Marseille in any case.
You'll find that you'll enjoy seeing the blue down here and feeling the sun.
I now have a terrace for a studio.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam