The Langlois Bridge

The Langlois Bridge

"So, after supper I started on the same painting I intend for Tersteeg, ‘The Langlois bridge’, for you... ...As for the repetitions of these two studies, I thought the bridge was better than Tersteeg’s..."
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Painting Date
11th of April 1888
Detailed Image Links

Created almost a month after his first rendition of the scene, Vincent paints the Langlois bridge again, this time for his brother.  He asks Theo to keep it in the family and not try to sell it as it will be worth perhaps 500 francs later if they hold on to it for a while.  It is worth tens of millions of dollars today and currently in a private collection.Vincent changes and emboldens the color combinations in this fourth surviving rendition of the Langlois drawbridge just outside of Arles.


Selecting Compare One, you can view the first rendition – the Tersteeg version – alongside this rendition for Theo.  Vincent brightens the yellow to brilliant on the wooden beams of the drawbridge and changes the receding canal bank from green to the same shining yellow found in the beams.  The carriage horse becomes white and the carriage top a repeating of the yellows of the beams and canal slope beyond.  The blue of the water changes from a turquoise in the Tersteeg rendition to cobalt in this canvas for Theo and ochre browns become red and lighter greens turn deep viridian and dominate the left slope and foreground, increasing energy and vibrancy in the work.


Selecting Compare Two, the colors Vincent selects have the feel of an 1830 view of Mount Fuji by Hokusai in a woodblock print the brothers and the Paris art world were very aware of.  Vincent is in what he refers to as “The Japan of the South” and full of optimism and visions of an artist community in Arles or Marseille.




“So, after supper I started on the same painting I intend for Tersteeg, ‘The Langlois bridge’, for you. And I’d really like to make a repetition of that one for Jet Mauve too,because since I’m spending so much we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we’ve got to try to get some back, of this money that’s quickly slipping away.”


To Theo. Arles, on or about Wednesday, 11 April 1888




“In this consignment there are the pink orchard on coarse canvas and the horizontal white orchard and the bridge, which, if we keep them, I think could go up in value later, and about fifty paintings of that quality would compensate us in a way for the fact that we’ve had too little luck in the past. So take these three for your collection at home and don’t sell them because later on they’ll be worth 500 each.
And if we had 50 like that put aside, then I’d breathe a bit more easily. Anyway — write to me soon.”


Ever yours,  Vincent

To Theo. Arles, Thursday, 10 May 1888



a second letter dated the same day:


“In the crate you’ll first of all find the paintings I did for Jet Mauve and Tersteeg. If in the meantime you should foresee that Tersteeg would take offence at it, well, in a word, if it’s better that I don’t talk to him, then you’ll keep it and you can scrape off the dedication and we’ll exchange it with a pal. As for the repetitions of these two studies, I thought the bridge was better than Tersteeg’s…

…I think for the frames — the two yellow bridges with blue sky will do well in the dark blue they call royal blue,”

To Theo van Gogh. Arles, Thursday, 10 May 1888




Painting, Oil on Canvas
Arles: April 11, 1888
Private collection
Paris, France, Europe
F: 571, JH: 1392

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