Letter 6, page 4

Download image: 

Vincent van Gogh, letter to Émile Bernard, Arles, 7 June 1888, Letter 6, page 4

Pen and black ink on three sheets, one vertically folded and two separate, of cream, machine-made laid paper

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

MA 6441.6

The Japanese use it too, by the way—they express a young girl's matte and pale complexion,
and its sharp contrast with her black hair wonderfully well with white paper and four strokes of the
pen. Not to mention their black thornbushes, studded with a thousand white flowers.

I've finally seen the Mediterranean, which you will probably cross before I do. Spent a week
in Saintes-Maries, and to get there crossed the Camargue in a diligence, with vineyards, heaths,
fields as flat as Holland. There, at Saintes-Maries, there were girls who made one think of Cimabue
and Giotto: slim, straight, a little sad and mystical. On the completely flat, sandy beach, little
green, red, blue boats, so pretty in shape and color that one thought of flowers; one man boards
them, these boats hardly go on the high sea—they dash off when there's no wind and come back to
land if there's a bit too much. It appears that Gauguin is still ill. I'm quite curious to know what
you've done lately; I'm still doing landscapes, sketch enclosed. I'd very much like to see Africa too,
but I hardly make any firm plans for the future, it will depend on circumstances. What I should like
to know is the effect of a more intense blue in the sky. Fromentin and Gérôme see the earth in
the south as colorless, and a whole lot of people saw it that way. My God, yes, if you take dry sand
in your hand and if you look at it closely. Water, too, air, too, considered this way, are colorless. No
BLUE WITHOUT YELLOW and WITHOUT ORANGE, and if you do blue, then do yellow and orange as
well, surely. Ah well, you'll tell me that I write you nothing but banalities. Handshake in thought,

Ever yours,

© 2007 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam