Your letter and the enclosure were as welcome as ever. And
as always, many thanks.
And I appreciate it the more for knowing how many cares you
So you may be easy in your mind about this.
Well, from the bottom of my heart I hope that things will
turn out the way you planned them, toward October, and I am
glad things have been carried so far, heartily glad for
your sake as well as for hers. I think it
is well as it is - especially because I know all the
details - if two persons meet in this way they should not part
And I sincerely hope you will be able to come to Holland
with her next summer. Who knows whether it might not help to
set right certain things concerning my own woman.
And so the Salon has opened. I suppose you will have a visit
from Mr. Tersteeg and C. M. one of these days. It is now almost
a year since I had differences with him, that is to say, with
Tersteeg. I will not cross his path again; he must have noticed
that, I think; and he may be sure that I hardly ever think of
what has happened.
If Tersteeg begins talking to you about me, you might cut it
short by saying, “Has Vincent ever troubled you or
crossed your path since then? He hasn't, so don't you bother
him either.” It is rather unpleasant for me that, because
of that quarrel with Tersteeg, I must always avoid the Goupil
gallery out of discretion. You remember what Tersteeg wrote
Father about me at the time - his opinion that I had made it
impossible for him to have anything to do with me; he has not
taken it back up to now.
Of course, as long as he has that opinion of me, I will not
enter his place again. Not because I am afraid of meeting
Tersteeg, not because I want to hide myself from him or
anything like that, but because I do not want to give any
offense. If somebody wants to cut me, I myself will lend him a
helping hand, and try to avoid the rare occasions when we might
happen to meet. For the rest, I shall never contradict his
opinion. From a certain point of view, Tersteeg is not wrong -
but things may be looked at from another angle - they might be
viewed in a way different from his - but that is his own
For my part, I have expressed my opinion of him to you - but
as far as I know, to nobody else - influenced by various very
disagreeable circumstances, differences with Mauve, etc. I
readily agree that because of all these things, my judgement of
him was not correct either, and provided that Tersteeg takes
back what he wrote Father about me - that I had made it
impossible for him to have anything to do with me in the future
- I retract my opinion that Tersteeg was the cause of the
unpleasant things which happened to me.
If I express myself clearly enough, you will perhaps find in
this acknowledgement something which may lead to more peace or
to a better understanding, to which I would be far from
When I think back to May of last year, Theo, the year has
not been exactly easy or free from care for me, has it? But
that doesn't matter. To be without care or trouble has indeed
never been my ideal or intention. But things have not been
exactly easy for me.
What you send me is not little but much; but though it was
perhaps much more than you could really spare yourself, I
assure you that going on and making progress with my work, and
keeping the household going, is not child's play for the woman
and me. Now it is sometimes very hard on me that because of
such strained relations, I must avoid the very persons with
whom, for my work, I ought to be directly or indirectly in
touch. And I wish it were peacefully settled.
Well - for the moment I cannot change it.
I am working on several things just now which I must carry
through; but really I am very hard up. You write about Rappard
- I am so sorry that he did not come when he wrote he would. If
I asked him to advance me something, I am sure he would not
refuse. For he himself proposed it this winter, but then he
fell ill and we could not correspond about the matter for which
the money was intended - that is, lithographs, and drawings
connected with it. I remember his father wrote: “My son
is ill, but I know about it; if you are perhaps in
difficulties, I will advance you the money.”
I thought that so nice of Rappard's father that it would
have been indelicate of me to have accepted it at that moment.
So I wrote him, “Thank you, let us wait for the recovery
of your son.”
Rappard recovered, but I heard nothing more about it, and he
became absorbed in other work. So that is still hanging, and
again and again there are obstacles which prevent carrying this
thing through. But I personally did go on with it, namely
making drawings in printer's ink, lithographic crayon, etc.,
and I have had a lot of expenses too. Of course he is not in
the least responsible for that: but what I want to say is, it
is that much more reason, I think, for his not refusing to
advance me something.
Therefore I will ask him to do so, but I am expecting a
letter from him: and before I have described the whole thing
and have got an answer, some time may elapse, for he is lazy
about his correspondence sometimes.
When your money arrived this morning, I had been without
money - absolutely without a penny - for about a week. And I had to pay for
several household things and to lay in provisions. And had to
pay the models, whom I had had meanwhile, in order to be able
to work on.
I am very, very sorry I have to ask for it, but if there is
the slightest possibility, send me another 10 francs. A week's
work depends on it, for I cannot expect an answer from Rappard
right away. I am already hard up, and have made arrangements
with models. After Rappard sends me the money, the time will
come when things will run smoothly again. If you can send it,
this week will pass without a hitch; if not, the damage will be
unpleasant. But do not be angry with me; it was a combination
of expenses, all strictly necessary, which I could not avoid.
And if you cannot send it - well, it will not kill us. The
difficulties in small matters, even when small sums of money
are involved, are often really brain-wracking, and this is such
a case. I hope Rappard will be able to help me a little, for I
need it as much as a meadow needs the rain after a long
Well, once more my best wishes for your patient; the weather
is delightful here at times - in your country it will be
beautiful too, and will do her good.
Yours sincerely, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 2 May 1883 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 282.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.