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Themes in Art

Letters

Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window

Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window

Johannes Vermeer1659
Mistress and Maid

Mistress and Maid

Johannes Vermeer1666-1667
A Woman Writing a Letter with her Maidservant

A Woman Writing a Letter with her Maidservant

Johannes Vermeer1670-1671

A certain ennui is always with me, and when I forget my sorrow for a moment it’s because I’ve had a drink.

Letters between Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola

Paul CézanneÉmile Zola1860

The armistice has just been rejected, so the war will carry on worse than before - I've often regretted sending you away from Paris, but now I'm glad I did. I'm joining the artillery and will be stationed at the Porte de Saint-Ouen...

Letters from the front: The Franco-Prussian War

Édouard Manet1870

I quite like the subject of violent exercise. It makes the most surprising painting you can imagine.

Letters by Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet1870

I went to see Monet yesterday and found him in despair and absolutely broke...Shall we do the deal ourselves? No one, and least of all he, should know that we're in on this.

Letters to Eugene Manet & Theodore Duret

Édouard Manet1875

I am literally penniless here, obliged to petition people, almost to beg for my keep, not having a penny to buy canvas and paints . . .

Claude Monet to Georges Charpentier (A Desperate Plea)

Claude Monet1878

I am like a child at school. The new page is always going to be neatly written, and then pouf! . . . a blot. I'm still making blots . . . and I am 40 years old.

On Failure and the Renaissance: A letter to Durand and Ruel

Pierre-Auguste Renoir1881

It would be a long trip indeed if one stopped at every attractive town or village, at every beautiful motif —

My Dear Lucien

Camille Pissarro1883

All these celebrated men were in agreement in saying I should persevere and that notwithstanding my being forty years old it was still not too late.

On Rejection and Hard Work

Henri Rousseau1884

We’re in the presence of an unspoiled creature with the instincts of a wild beast. With Gauguin, blood and sex have the edge over ambition.

Van Gogh and Gauguin to Emile Bernard

Paul GauguinVincent Van Gogh1888

I am distressed, almost discouraged, and fatigued to the point of feeling slightly ill. What I am doing is no good, and in spite of your confidence I am very much afraid that my efforts will all lead to nothing.

The despair of painting nature - Letters to Gustave Geffroy

Claude Monet1889

For 2 months I’ve been working on a large sculpture , and I dare believe that it’s the best thing I’ve done up to now ... A monster who looks like me is taking the hand of a naked woman —

Gauguin to Vincent Van Gogh

Paul Gauguin1889

Art is harmony. Harmony is the analogy of contrary elements and the analogy of similar elements of tone, color and line...

The Aesthetics of Tone, Color, and Line

Georges Seurat1890

Now, consider carefully which you would rather do, so that later you will not regret your decision

Art school or the kitchen? Modersohn-Becker's letters to her parents

Paula Modersohn-Becker1893

After tea it's back to painting - a large poplar at dusk with a gathering storm. Dusk falls - supper - then early to bed and early to rise the next morning.

The Daily Routine

Gustav Klimt1900

Nature has more depth than surface, hence the need to introduce in our vibrations of light, represented by reds and yellows, enough blue tints to give a feeling of air.

Letters from Paul Cézanne to Emile Bernard

Paul Cézanne1904

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