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581 Paul Gauguin to Vincent van Gogh. Pont-Aven, on or about Wednesday, 29 February 1888.

No. 581 (Brieven 1990 583, Complete Letters GAC 28)
From: Paul Gauguin
To: Vincent van Gogh
Date: Pont-Aven, on or about Wednesday, 29 February 1888
Source status
Original manuscript
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, inv. no. b839 V/1962
The letter dates from no later than 1 March, since Theo had to send it on from Paris and Vincent says in letter 582 of around 2 March that he has meanwhile
received it. Moreover, he does not mention Gauguins letter in his letter to Theo of around Monday, 27 February (letter 580). We, like Merlhs, have therefore
dated it on or about Wednesday, 29 February 1888. See Correspondance Gauguin 1984, p. 172.
Vincent sent this letter to Theo for him to read, together with letter 583. From ll. 3-4 it appears that Gauguin assumed that the brothers were still living together.
He had consequently sent the letter to Theos address, and Theo had apparently sent it on unopened. Vincent says in letter 582 that in future Theo can open his

Mon cher Vincent,

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je voulais crire votre frre mais je sais que vous vous voyez tous les jours

et je crains de lennuyer, occup comme il est depuis le matin jusquau soir par les affaires.
Je suis parti pour travailler en Bretagne, (toujours la rage de peindre), et javais bon espoir davoir les fonds pour cel. Le peu que jai vendu a servi payer les
quelques dettes criardes et dans un mois je vais me trouver sans rien. Zro 1v:2 cest une force ngative.
Je ne veux pas presser votre frre mais un petit mot de vous ce sujet me tranquiliserait ou du moins me ferait patienter. Mon dieu que les questions dargent sont
terribles pour un artiste!

Et sil faut faire des rabais ne craignez pas, pourvu que je trouve quelques fonds. 2 Je viens de passer 15 jours dans le lit, repris par la fivre
travailler. Si je peux taler 1v:3 5 6 mois je crois que je rapporterai quelques bonnes toiles.
Un mot de rponse encourageant si cest possible.

et je recommence

Tout vous
Paul Gauguin
Pont Aven chez Made Gloanec

My dear Vincent,
I wanted to write to your brother but I know you see each other every day 1 and Im afraid to trouble him, occupied as he is with business from morning till night.
I have left to work in Brittany (always the rage to paint), and I had high hopes of having funds for that. The little Ive sold went to pay off some pressing debts, and in a
month Im going to find myself with nothing. Zero 1v:2 is a negative power.
I dont want to put pressure on your brother, but a brief word from you on this subject would set my mind at rest, or at least enable me to hold on. My God, how terrible
these money matters are for an artist!
And if we have to make some reductions dont worry, as long as I find some funds.
back to work. If I can eke things out for

Ive just spent a fortnight in bed, struck down again by fever,

and Im getting

1v:3 5 or 6 months I think Ill bring back some good canvases.

A word of encouragement in reply if possible.

Ever yours,
Paul Gauguin
Pont-Aven, at Madame Gloanecs

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1. Gauguin was evidently unaware that Van Gogh had gone to Arles; he himself having left Paris for Brittany on 26 January. See Merlhs 1989, p. 61.
2. In December 1887 Theo had taken several recent works by Gauguin on commission. He showed four paintings, The beach at Dieppe (W178/W166), Bathing at the
watermill in the Bois dAmour (W221/W272), Landscape with swine (W229/-) and Coming and going (W245/-), and five ceramic objects by Gauguin, followed in
January by the exhibition of one painting, Two female bathers (W241/W215). Op 26 December 1887 Theo had made his first sale of one of his works, Bathing at the
watermill in the Bois dAmour, for 450 francs. See Wildenstein 2001, pp. 217, 276, 287, 328, 314, 608.
3. In 1888 Gauguin suffered for several months from the after-effects of the malaria, dysentery and hepatitis he had contracted during his trip to Panama and Martinique
with the painter Charles Laval (from April to October 1887). See exhib. cat. Washington 1988, p. 45.
4. In letter 583 of about 9 March, Vincent told Theo that he had written to Gauguin and given him Russells address in the hope that he would buy work by Gauguin.
5. Gauguin was staying in the boarding-house run by Marie-Jeanne Gloanec-Morvan in Pont-Aven, 13 place de la Mairie, Finistre (Brittany). Cf. Correspondance
Gauguin 1984, pp. 433-436 (with a photograph of the boarding-house).

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