My dear Theo,
Thank you for your letter and the 50-franc note it
contained. Thank you for writing more about the picture by
these Dutch artists.
I have had gas put in the studio and in the kitchen, which
has cost me 25 francs for the installation. If Gauguin and I
worked every night for a fortnight, shouldn't we get it
back? Only as G. may come any day now, I absolutely, absolutely need
at least 50 francs.
And if it were not that I have almost a double nature,like
that of a monk and that of a painter,I should have - and that long ago -
been reduced completely and utterly to the aforesaid condition.
Yet even then I do not think that my madness would take the
form of persecution mania, since when in a state of excitement
my feelings lead me rather to the contemplation of eternity,
and eternal life.
But all the same I must beware of my nerves, etc.
Only I tell you this because you are mistaken in thinking
that I have any mistrust of these two Dutch painters in any
way. But it was really only after your second letter that I
could form any idea of what they are doing, and I am very
curious to see the photographs of their drawings.
I should like to write you a letter expressly for them to
read, to explain once again why I believe I am in the South both for
the present and the future.
And to say at the same time how right I think it is to see a
tendency toward great things in the impressionist movement, and
not only a school which would confine itself to optical
experiments. And as for those who are doing historical painting,
or at least have done it in the past, if there are some really
bad historical painters like Delaroche and Delort, aren't there
also some good ones like Eug. Delacroix and Meissonier? Anyway,
since I have the fixed intention not to paint for at least
three days, perhaps I shall rest myself by writing to you and
to them at the same time. For you know that the influence
impressionism will have on the Dutch painters and on the Dutch
collectors rather interests me.
[Here Vincent drew a sketch of The Poet's Garden IV.]
Here is a very vague sketch of my last canvas, a row of
green cypresses against a pink sky with a pale lemon crescent.
The foreground is vague land and sand and some thistles. Two
lovers, the man in pale blue with a yellow hat, the woman with
a pink bodice and a black skirt.. That makes
the fourth canvas of “The Poet's Garden,” which is
the decoration for Gauguin's bedroom.
I dread to have to ask you for money again, but I
can't help it, and even so I am broke again. However, I think
that someday the work I do by spending a little more will seem
a better bargain to us than the earlier stuff.
Besides, I had already told you, if it had been possible to
make a deal with Thomas, I should have dearly liked to be able
to put even 200 francs more into the work before Gauguin's
As that could not be, I have nevertheless pushed what I was
working on as far as I could in my great desire to be able to
show him something new, and not to be subjected to his
influence (for he will certainly influence me, I hope) before I
can show him indubitably my own individuality. He will see
that, however, in the decoration as it is now.
I beg you, if it is in any way possible, send me another fifty
francs at once, I do not quite know how I shall be able to get
through without it. I am very glad you have read Tartarin. I do
hope that you will be able to write me no later than by return
A good handshake,
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 21 October 1888 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 556.
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