They have a lot of room here at the hospital, there’d be enough to make studios for thirty or so painters.
I really must make up my mind, it’s only too true that an awful lot of painters go mad, it’s a life which makes you very distracted, to say the least. If I throw myself fully into work again, that’s good, but I still remain cracked. If I could enlist for 5 years I would recover considerably and would be more rational and more the master of myself.
But one or the other, it’s all the same to me.
I hope that in the heap of canvases I’ve sent you there may be some which will end up giving you pleasure. If I remain a painter, then sooner or later I’ll probably see Paris again, and I firmly promise myself that I’ll thoroughly touch up several old canvases on that occasion. What’s Gauguin doing, I’m still avoiding writing to him until I’m completely normal, but I think of him so often, and I’d so much like to know if everything is going relatively well for him.
If I hadn’t been in such a hurry, if I’d kept my studio, this summer I would have worked again on all the canvases I’ve sent you. As long as the impasto isn’t dry all the way through, naturally it can’t be scraped.
You’ll clearly see that the two women’s expressions26are different from the expressions one sees in Paris.
Is Signac back in Paris yet?
The two women Van Gogh refers to are the portraits of Augustine Roulin and Marie Ginoux. The consignment most likely contained four versions of Augustine Roulin (‘La berceuse’)F 504 / JH 1655 [2762]F 506 / JH 1670 [2774]F 507 / JH 1672 [2776] and F 508 / JH 1671 [2775] (see letter 774, n. 2), as well as Marie Ginoux (‘The Arlésienne’) (F 489 / JH 1625 [2744]). Provenance research undertaken by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has revealed that the second version, Marie Ginoux (‘The Arlésienne’) (F 488 / JH 1624), was in the possession of Madame Ginoux. See also Feilchenfeldt 2005, p. 297.

To Theo. Arles, Friday, 3 May 1889

  Painting, Oil on Canvas Arles: November (*or May 1889?), 1888 The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, New York, United States of America, North America F: 488, JH: 1624