My dear Theo,
I was tremendously glad to get your letter, thank you for
it, and for the 50-Fr. note.
Congratulations on Tersteeg's letter, I think it is
I am certain there is nothing to be hurt about in his
silence with regard to me; besides, he could count on your
giving me his letter to read. Then too, it is much simpler for
him to have only you to write to, and as far as I am concerned,
unless he thinks my stuff hopelessly bad, you'll see that he'll
write me a line as soon as he has seen what I've done, I tell
you again, I am more pleased with this simple and well meaning
answer of his than I can say. You will have noticed that he
says he is prepared to buy a good Monticelli for his own
What if you were to say to him that in our collection we
have a bunch of flowers which is a better piece of painting and
more beautiful than one by Diaz? That Monticelli sometimes made
a bunch of flowers an excuse for gathering together in a single
panel the whole range of his richest and most perfectly
balanced tones. And that you must go straight to Delacroix to
find anything equal to his orchestration of colours.
Also that - I am speaking of picture in the Delarebeyrettes
- we actually know of another flower-piece, very good in
quality and reasonable in price, and that we think it
altogether superior to the Monticelli figure paintings which
are to be seen everywhere now, and which belong to his period
I hope that you will send him Gauguin's fine marine. But how
glad I am that Tersteeg should have written like this!
When you are writing him, you might mention Russell. When I
write Russell myself, I shall talk to him about his pictures
and ask him to exchange one with me, because we shall want to
mention his name and show his pictures as soon as the question
of the modern renaissance school comes up.
I have just finished a group of apricot trees in bloom in a
little orchard of fresh green. I've had a
setback with the sunset with figures and a bridge that I spoke
of to Bernard. The bad weather prevented my working on the
spot, and I've completely ruined it by trying to finish it at
home. However, I at once began the same subject again
on another canvas, but, as the weather was quite
different, in gray tones and without figures.
It would not be a bad idea for you to send Tersteeg one of
my studies: would you say the bridge at Clichy
with the yellow sky and two houses reflected in the water? - or
the butterflies or the field of poppies, for that matter,
though I hope to do better here.
If you think so too, you might tell Tersteeg that I myself
thought I should have a greater chance of selling in Holland
with nature studies of the Midi, and that when Tersteeg comes
to Paris in May, he will find a consignment of several subjects
Thank you very much too for all the steps you have taken
toward the exhibition of the Independents. On the whole I'm
very glad that they've been put with the other
I return to you enclosed Tersteeg's and Russell's letters.
It might perhaps be interesting to keep the artists'
correspondence. It would not be a bad idea to add the little
head of the Breton woman by friend Bernard to your consignment.
He must be shown that all the impressionists are good, and
their work very varied.
I think our friend Reid regrets having fallen out with us,
but unfortunately it's quite impossible to offer him the same
advantages again, or to try to let him have the pictures on
commission. It is not enough to be fond of pictures, and he
seems to me to have no feeling for artists. If he changes as
much as all that, it will not be overnight.
Tersteeg was a personal friend of Mauve's and of many
others, and there is something about him which convinces
collectors. You will find that knowing people is what gives
I'll write again in a few days, but I wanted to congratulate
you at once on the rebirth of your business relations in
With a handshake,
Paris doesn't pay: I'd be sorry to see the Seurats in a
provincial museum or in a cellar, those pictures ought to stay
in living hands - if only Tersteeg would…If three
permanent exhibitions are started, there must be one great
Seurat in Paris, one in London, and one in Marseilles.
At this time, Vincent was 34 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 24 March 1888 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 471.
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