The letter dates back to November 1888, two years before Van Gogh’s death at the age of 37.
Rabat – A letter co-written by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and French painter Paul Gauguin sold yesterday at auction in Paris for $236,000.
The letter dates back to November 1888, two years before Van Gogh’s death at the age of 37. Van Gogh sent the letter from the southern French city of Arles to French painter Emile Bernard.
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The letter was an invitation for Bernard to revive modern art and set up an association of painters, as well as recounting a number of adventures that the two artists shared in brothels.
“I don’t think it will astonish you greatly if I tell you that our discussions tend to deal with the terrific subject of an association of certain painters,” said Van Gogh in the letter.
The two artists wrote the letter in the context of Gauguin’s visit to Arles where Van Gogh lived. The two friends painted together for several months and exchanged their visions about art.
“For a long time it has seemed to me that in our filthy job as painters we have the greatest need of people with the hands and stomach of a labourer,” Van Gogh continued.
The two artists painted some of the most expensive paintings in history, with Gauguin’s “Nafea Faa Ipoipo ?” that a buyer in Qatar acquired for $300 million, and Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Doctor Gachet” which went to a Japanese businessman for $82.5 million.
Although Van Gogh’s paintings ranked among the most expensive in history, the Dutch painter suffered poverty depression and mental instability for most of his life until he committed suicide on July 27, 1890, when he shot himself in the chest with a revolver.
According to CNN, there are over 900 surviving letters written by or to Van Gogh that historians have used to better understand the painter’s “troubled life.”