Public Garden with Couple and Blue Fir Tree: Poet’s Garden III

Public Garden with Couple and Blue Fir Tree: Poet’s Garden III

"Now imagine a huge green-blue fir tree spreading its horizontal branches over a very green lawn and sand dappled with light and shade. This very simple corner of a garden is enlivened by beds of orange lead geraniums in the background areas, under the black branches. Two figures of lovers stand in the shade of the big tree. No. 30 canvas."
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Painting Date
2nd of October 1888
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“About the room where you’ll stay, I’ve made a decoration especially for it, the garden of a poet (in the croquis Bernard has there’s a first idea for it, later simplified). The unremarkable public garden contains plants and bushes that make one dream of landscapes in which one may readily picture to oneself BotticelliGiottoPetrarchDante and Boccaccio. In the decoration I’ve tried to tease out the essence of what constitutes the changeless character of the region.  And I’d have wished to paint this garden in such a way that one would think both of the old poet of this place (or rather, of Avignon), Petrarch, and of its new poet — Paul Gauguin.

However clumsy this effort, you’ll still see, perhaps, that while preparing your studio I’ve thought of you with very deep feeling.  Let’s be of good heart for the success of our enterprise, and may you continue to feel very much at home here.  Because I’m so strongly inclined to believe that all this will last for a long time.


Good handshake, and believe me
Ever yours,


Only I’m afraid that you’ll find Brittany more beautiful — even though you may well see nothing more beautiful than things out of Daumier, figures here are often pure Daumier. Now, as for you, it won’t take you long to discover, under all the modernity, the ancient world and the Renaissance, which is sleeping. Now, as far as they’re concerned, you’re at liberty to reawaken them.  Bernard tells me that he, MoretLaval and someone else would do an exchange with me. I am really, in principle, a great supporter of the system of exchanges among artists, since I see that it occupied a considerable place in the life of the Japanese painters. So one of these days I’ll send you such studies as I have to spare, in the dry state, and you’ll have first choice.   But I won’t exchange a single one with you if on your part it would mean costing you something as significant as your portrait, which would be too beautiful. For sure, I wouldn’t dare, because my brother will gladly buy it from you against a whole month’s allowance.”


To Paul Gauguin. Arles, Wednesday, 3 October 1888  (about 3 weeks before Gaugin’s arrival in Arles)


Painting, Oil on Canvas – 73 x 92 cm Size 30 Figure

Arles: October 2, 1888
Private collection
F: 479, JH: 1601

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