Nuenen, 2nd half June 1885
Thanks for your letter and the enclosure. It was just what I
wanted and helped me to work as hard at the end of the month as
I did in the beginning.
I am very glad to hear that Serret is a painter, about whom
you had already written things which I perfectly well remember,
but the name had escaped me. I should like to write to you much
more than I shall do in this letter, but of late, when I come
home, I don't feel like writing, after sitting in the sun all
day. As to what Serret says, I quite agree with him - I shall
just send him a line, because I should like to become friends
with him. As I told you already, I have been busy drawing
figures recently; I will send them especially for the sake of
Serret, to show him that I am far from indifferent to the unity
and the form of a figure.
Do you ever see Wallis, is that watercolour of the auction
perhaps something for him; if it were something for Wisselingh,
then he would certainly be the right one to take it. To
Wisselingh I once gave a few heads and recently I have sent him
that lithograph. But as he did not answer with a single word, I
think if I sent him something more, I should get nothing but an
insult. [Wallis and Wisselingh were art dealers on friendly
terms with the two brothers]
It has just happened to me that Van Rappard, with whom I
have been friends for years, after keeping silent for about
three months, writes me a letter, so haughty and so full of
insults and so clearly written after he had been in The Hague,
that I am almost sure I have lost him for ever as a friend.
Just because I tried it first at The Hague, that is in my
own country, I have full right and cause to forget all those
worries and to attempt something else outside my own
You know Wallis well, perhaps you can broach the subject
apropos of that watercolour, but act according to your
discretion. The future is always
different from what one expects, so one never can be sure. The
drawback of painting is that, if one does not sell one's
pictures, one still needs money for paint and models in order
to make progress. And that drawback is a bad thing. But for the
rest, painting and, in my opinion. especially the painting of
rural life, gives serenity, though one may have all kinds of
worries and miseries on the surface of life. I mean painting is
a home and one does not experience that homesickness,
that peculiar feeling Hennebeau had. That passage I copied for
you lately had struck me particularly, because at the time I
had almost literally the same longing to be something like a
grass mower or a navvy.
And I was sick of the boredom of civilization. It
is better, one is happier if one carries it out -
literally though - one feels at least that one is really alive.
And it is a good thing in winter to be deep in the snow, in the
autumn deep in the yellow leaves, in summer among the ripe
corn, in spring amid the grass; it is a good thing to be always
with the mowers and the peasant girls, in summer with a big sky
overhead, in winter by the fireside, and to feel that it always
has been and always will be so.
I should like to write more, but I repeat, I am not in a
mood for writing, and I wanted to enclose a note for Serret
besides, which you must read also, because I write in it about
what I want to send before long, especially because I want to
show Serret my complete figure studies. Goodbye,
Serret may agree with you that to paint good pictures and to
sell them are two separate things. But it is not at all true.
When at last the public saw Millet, all his work together, then
the public both in Paris and in London was enthusiastic.
And who were the persons that had suppressed and refused
Millet? The art dealers, the so-called
At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 2nd half June 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 413.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.