The Van Gogh and Gauguin Brothel Letter Was Sold for 210,600 Euros

Self-portrait in front of an easel, Vincent Van Gogh 1888

A letter from the two greatest artists of the 19th century – Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin – in which they talk about their visit to French brothels, was bought by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The institution acquired the document at auction for 210 thousand 600 euros.

The message, previously stored in a private collection, was called exceptional. Both artists take turns sharing their experiences of living together in French Arles and confidently declare that their work will lead the great art renaissance.

A few weeks after writing this letter, Van Gogh and Gauguin quarreled. Van Gogh cut off a large part of the left ear. Then, he went to the brothel and presented it to Gabrielle Berlatier, the daughter of the farmer who worked there as a maid. Gauguin suddenly abandoned plans to spend a year with a Dutch colleague and said that his friend was crazy.

In a letter dated November 1 – 2, 1888, the artists tell their friend Emil Bernard about the first week of cohabitation in the Yellow House – a tavern with rental rooms. It was immortalized by the works of Van Gogh.

The Van Gogh and Gauguin Brothel Letter Was Sold for 210,600 Euros
Yellow house by Vincent Van Gogh, September 1888

A four-page letter written in French was bought at an auction in Paris by the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation. This October, the document will become part of an exhibition entitled “With Love, Vincent. The Greatest Van Gogh Letters” at the artist’s museum in Amsterdam.

“And now something that will interest you – we went to brothels several times, and it is likely that we will often go there to work, Van Gogh says in a single letter that he wrote with his friend, an artist. – Now Gauguin is working on the canvas in the same night cafe, which I also wrote, but with figures that I saw in brothels. Apparently, it will be a wonderful thing.”

Van Gogh adds that “he made two sketches of fallen leaves on a poplar alley and a third – of the entire alley, completely yellow.”

The Van Gogh and Gauguin Brothel Letter Was Sold for 210,600 Euros
Co-authored letter by Van Gogh and Gauguin during their life together in Arles

The joint residence of two artists in Arles was to be the first step towards realizing the dream of the 35-year-old Van Gogh about creating a utopian colony of painters. In the letter, he mentioned that it would be a commune of a commercial nature. He saw Gauguin as a potential leader of this community.

That summer, Van Gogh created a number of his most iconic works, including Still Life with Fifteen Sunflowers and Starry Night on the Rhone.



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