Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 7 June 1888, Letter 6, page 1
Thaw Collection, given in honor of Charles E. Pierce, Jr., 2007
My dear old Bernard,
More and more it seems to me that the paintings that ought to be made, the paintings that are
necessary, indispensable for painting today to be fully itself and to rise to a level equivalent to the
serene peaks achieved by the Greek sculptors, the German musicians, the French writers of novels,
exceed the power of an isolated individual, and will therefore probably be created by groups of men
combining to carry out a shared idea.
One has a superb orchestration of colors and lacks ideas.
The other overflows with new, harrowing or charming conceptions but is unable to express
them in a way that is sufficiently sonorous, given the timidity of a limited palette.
Very good reason to regret the lack of an esprit de corps among artists, who criticize each
other, persecute each other, while fortunately not succeeding in canceling each other out.
You'll say that this whole argument is a banality. So be it—but the thing itself—the existence
of a Renaissance—that fact is certainly not a banality.
© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam