In 1888, Van Gogh spent some time in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the South of France. Van Gogh was living in Arles at the time and on May 28, 1888 he wrote to his brother Theo saying, “I expect to make an excursion to Saintes-Maries, and see the Mediterranean at last.” By the first week of June Van Gogh was in Saintes-Maries where he marveled at the sea and its colors. He completed two paintings of the sea both shown below. In a letter to his brother Theo from June 4, 1888 he wrote,
“I am at last writing to you from Stes-Maries on the shore of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean has the colours of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don’t always know if it is green or violet, you can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing light has taken on a tinge of pink or gray.”
In addition to the two seascapes, Van Gogh also painted: View of Saintes Maries, Three White Cottages in Saintes Maries, Street Scene in Saintes Maries and, probably his most recognized painting from this trip, Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes Maries. View his paintings of Saintes Maries below.