I received your letter and enclosed 20 francs in good order.
Many thanks. Now I can tell you that I sent off to Leurs the
box containing 7 paintings of different subjects, and to make
it more complete, I added 12 smaller painted studies. I also
wrote Wisselingh that I had sent those pictures, and asked him
to go and see them. Yet I am still sorry that these pictures
did not go to you.
If we had paid off Leurs and you had taken these pictures
and if you had got too many of one kind, we might have picked
out some from the various lots to show in Holland; then the
things that remained with you would have been of the very best,
a core to be gradually enlarged as we progressed. But, as you
say, it is no use crying over spilt milk.
By way of provisional answer to what you wrote with regard
to drawings of figures in their surroundings, I sent you a few
today. But I doubt whether they are suitable for framing, and
if, being in the fields, I am fortunate enough to find
something better, I shall try and add a few others shortly.
In answer to what you write about being convinced as to
not having gone too far yet in economizing, your ledger
can prove this in case the expenses are greater than the
profits. Perhaps so. But the reason? Yes, the people at home,
but, boy, you can't keep it up as you do now. I suffer
through it, I assure you, but if need be, I will consent to
being even poorer than I was in previous years. But does it
make those at home happier, and are they any better off? -
and…later on, the consequences for them and for you -
will you feel happy about them?
Really, when I think of my own experience, when I think how
my working for some years at Goupil & Co.'s ended in my
being drawn very strongly toward home, when I think how there
followed for me an absolutely bewildering crisis which soon
left me entirely alone, and how everything and everybody
I had formerly relied upon changed completely and left me high
and dry. When I think of those melancholy times, I am so afraid
that the present will prove to be no firm ground under your
feet. And then I feel obliged to state - not by way of reproach
- not in order to frighten you - not on purpose to make you
lose courage, but meaning it as a harsh truth - that in my
opinion the sun may set on you; aye, is setting on you.
But the fact that I add, “Renew yourself, but seek the
renewal in the core of the profession of painting and of
dealing too, but having your own business,” is
in itself proof enough that I do not mean this in a reproachful
or offensive way. I speak as somebody who has known strife and
is still in the midst of the fight. Well with every new year
time seems to go more quickly, more things seem to happen,
things go in a greater rush.
I say this without beating about the bush in order to show
you that, in case things were to change for you, I should think
it the most natural and comprehensible thing in the world, and
far from wanting to reproach you with anything, I should
propose that we undertake more things together, and not let
anything crush us, either of us. On the contrary, we should
both show that our hearts are full of vim and energy - and love
of art of a sterling quality.
I often have to fight against rather serious troubles,
instead of being prosperous, quite the opposite.
Well - but the more unfavourable outward circumstances
become, the more the inner resources, that is the love for the
work, increase. And if no new resources, yet new - renewed -
chances will offer themselves.
As I told you, I added to this little package of drawings a
few new ones, but I shall try to make several more this month,
the size of that woman shelling peas, which was the last one I
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written late August 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 422.
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