My dear Theo,
Perhaps I shall not write you a very long letter today, but
anyway a line to let you know that I got back home today. I do
so regret that you had all that trouble for such a trifle.
Forgive me, who am after all probably the primary cause of it
all. I did not foresee that it would be important enough for
you to be told of it. Enough… M. Rey came to see the
paintings with two of his friends, doctors, and they were
uncommonly quick at understanding at least what complementaries
are. I now intend to do a portrait of M. Rey and possibly other
portraits as soon as I am a little used to painting again.
Thanks for your last letter. Indeed, I always feel your
presence, but do realise on your side too that I am working at
the same thing as yourself.
How I wish you had seen the portrait of Brias by Delacroix
and the whole Montpellier Musée where Gauguin took me.
Since others before us have worked in the South, indeed it is
rather difficult for me to believe that we are so far astray as
all that. As for it's being a hot country, my word, I can't
help thinking of a certain country Voltaire talks of, not to
mention the simple “castles in the air.” These are
the thoughts which occur to me as I come back to my own
I am very anxious to know how the Bongers are and if the
relations with them continue. I hope so.
If you agree - now that Gauguin has gone - we will put the
money back again at 150 fr. I think that now I shall see calmer
days here than in the past year.
What I greatly need for my better information are all the
reproductions of Delacroix's pictures that are still available
at that shop where they sell, I think at a franc apiece,
lithographs after artists, ancient and modern, etc. I most
certainly don't want the more expensive ones.
How are our Dutch friends De Haan and Isaäcson? Give
them my very kind regards.
Only I think that we must still keep quiet with regard to my
own painting. If you want any pictures, certainly I can send
you some already, but when my peace of mind comes back to me, I
hope to do different things. However, as to the Independents,
do what seems best to you, and what the others do.
But you have no idea how much I regret that your journey to
Holland has not yet come off.
After all, we cannot alter what has happened, but make up
for it yourself by letter, or any way you can, as far as
possible, and tell the Bongers how I regret having
involuntarily caused this delay. I shall be writing Mother and
Wil one of these days, and I must also write Jet Mauve.
What is Gauguin doing? As his family are in the North, and
he has been invited to exhibit in Belgium and now has some
success in Paris, I like to think that he has landed on his
feet. A good handshake. In spite of everything I am terribly
happy that this is a thing of the past. Once more
a good hearty handshake.
Ever Yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 7 January 1889 in Arles. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 568.
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