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Autograph letter, dated 17 October 1888, to Paul Gauguin

Vincent van Gogh1888

The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum

Eagerly anticipating Gauguin's impending visit, van Gogh promised that en route from Pont-Aven to Arles his friend would see "miles and miles of countryside of different kinds with autumn splendors." Van Gogh reported that a recent bout of eyestrain forced him to remain indoors and paint an interior "with a simplicity à la Seurat." This painting was The Bedroom—sketched and vividly described here—in which he "had wished to express utter repose with all these very different tones." Van Gogh expressed his desire to talk with Gauguin about this and other paintings, admitting that "I often don't know what I'm doing, working almost like a sleepwalker." Two months after Gauguin's arrival, their fierce quarrels about art ended the painters' intense friendship.

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