My dear Theo,
Many thanks for your letter. My warm good wishes for a very
happy New Year. I know you are doing well at The Hague, because
Mr. Tersteeg told me so. I can see from your letter that you
are taking a keen interest in art, and that's a good thing, old
fellow. I'm glad you like Millet, Jacque, Schreyer, Lambinet,
Frans Hals, etc., for as Mauve says, “That's it.”
That painting by Millet, L'angélus du soir,
“that's it,” indeed - that's magnificent, that's
poetry. How I wish I could have another talk with you about
art; but we'll just have to keep writing to each other about
it. Admire as much as you can; most people don't
Here are the names of a few the painters I particularly
like. Scheffer, Delaroche, Hébert, Hamon, Leys, Tissot,
Lagye, Boughton, Millais, Thijs [Matthijs] Mans, De Groux, De
Braekeleer, Jr., Millet, Jules Breton, Feyen-Perrin,
Eugène Feyen, Brion, Jundt, George Saal, Israëls,
Anker, Knaus, Vautier, Jourdan, Jalabert, Antigna,
Compte-Calix, Rochussen, Meissonier, Zamacois, Madrazo, Ziem,
Boudin, Gérôme, Fromentin, de Tournemine, Pasini,
Decamps, Bonington, Diaz, Th. Rousseau, Troyon, Dupré,
Paul Huet, Corot, Jacque, Otto Weber, Daubigny, Wahlberg,
Bernier, Émile Breton, Chenu, César de Cock,
Mile. Collart, Bodmer, Koekkoek, Schelfhout, Weissenbruch, and
last [but] not least, Maris and Mauve.
But I could carry on like that for I don't know how long,
and then there are still all the old masters, and I am sure I
have forgotten some of the best of the modern ones.
Do go on doing a lot of walking and keep up your love of
nature, for that is the right way to understand art better and
better. Painters understand nature and love her and teach us
And then there are painters who never do anything that is no
good, who cannot do anything bad, just as there are ordinary
people who can do nothing but good.
then I've got nature and art and poetry, and if that isn't
enough, what is? But I haven't forgotten Holland and especially
not The Hague and Brabant.
We are busy at the office doing stocktaking, but it will all
be over in 5 days, we got off more lightly than you did in The
I hope that, like me, you had a happy Christmas.
And so, my boy, best wishes and write to me soon, Je
t'écris un peu au hasard ce qui me vient dans ma plume
[I have written to you in this manner just as it came into my
pen], I hope you'll be able to make something of it.
Goodbye, regards to everybody at work and to anybody else
who asks after me, especially everybody at Aunt Fie's and at
I am enclosing a few lines for Mr. Roos.
At this time, Vincent was 20 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written January 1874 in London. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 013.
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