van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Nuenen, c. mid November 1884

Dear Theo,

I suppose you already know that Father has refused the living at Helvoirt.

I was not indifferent to the decision, as in no case would I have gone with them to Helvoirt, and would either have stayed here in my studio or gone to Antwerp. Now, as far as I can see, it is, and will be, best for me simply to go on as I am, and to stay here.

Recently I really haven't been doing so badly. It is true that I can't have any financial success with my work here, but I am making really good friends here, who I believe will become even better.

Last week I painted still life day after day with the people who paint at Eindhoven.

That new acquaintance, the tanner whom I told you about, applies himself wonderfully. But I, for my part, must do something in return to keep up the friendship. But I don't see that I am the loser by it, as I work with more animation when I have some conversation.

Hermans has so many beautiful things, old jars and other antiques, that I want to ask you if I could oblige you by painting for your room a still life of some of these objects, for instance of Gothic things - those I have done with Hermans up to now are simpler in character. But just today he told me that if I wanted to paint for myself a picture of things that were still too difficult for him, I could take them with me to the studio. Please give me an answer to this, and if you like, I shall make one for you, and will pick out the best things. I have finished a little one already. As to my asking you to send me another 20 francs before the end of this month, I hope you will do so.

I am getting on pretty well, but my expenses are not getting smaller; but by working very hard now, I am making progress.

Do help me by sending what I ask if it is at all possible. Otherwise these last days of the month will be very hard for me and the work will suffer more than is necessary.

And I will give it back to you in my work. That's all I can say about it.

At all events, I will ask for those things of Hermans' and make something for you; you will see for yourself what I told you about the colour, that it is improving. I have also started another watercolour of the water mill [F 1144a, JH 523]

Goodbye, with a handshake,

Ever yours, Vincent

I know that it is a hard time for you, but we must push on, and sure enough there will be a change for the better.

At this time, Vincent was 31 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. mid November 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 387.

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