van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
 
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Saint-Rémy, 28 September 1889
Relevant paintings:


"Green Wheatfield," Vincent van Gogh 1890
[Enlarge]


"Cypresses," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Wheat Field with Cypresses," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Wheat Field with Reaper and Sun," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Marcalle Roulin," Van Gogh 1888
[Enlarge]


"Wheat Fields with Reaper at Sunrise," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Tree Trunks with Ivy," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Olive Trees," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Field with Poppies," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Starry Night," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Evening Landscape with Rising Moon," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Wheat Field with Cypresses," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Marcalle Roulin," Van Gogh 1888
[Enlarge]


"Vincent's Bedroom in Arles," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Self-Portrait," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"The Green Vineyard," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Red Chestnuts in the Public Park at Arles," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]


"Starry Night over the Rhone," Vincent van Gogh
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"The Red Vineyard," Vincent van Gogh
[Enlarge]

Letter 608
Saint-Rémy, 28 September 1889

My dear Theo,

I am writing you another letter to explain that there are three studies missing in the package of canvases you already have, because the postage for the roll with these taken out was 3.50 fr. less. So I will send them at the next opportunity—or rather they are leaving today with other canvases—as follows:

Wheat Fields

Study of Cypresses

Wheat Field and Cypresses

Reaper

ditto

ditto

Ivy

Olives

then also the three above-mentioned - Poppies - Night Effect - Moonrise.

Soon I shall send you some small canvases with the four or five studies that I want to give Mother and our sister. These studies are drying now, they are size 10 and 12 canvases, small copies of the “Wheat Field” and the “Cypresses,” “Olives,” the “Reaper,” and the “Bedroom” and a little self-portrait.

That will give them a good start and I think that it will give you, as well as me, some pleasure to arrange for our sister to have a little collection of pictures. I am doing copies on a reduced scale of the best canvases for them, and I would also like them to have the red and green “Vineyards,” the pink “Chestnut Trees,” and the “Night Effect” you exhibited.

You will see that I am gaining a little in patience and that perseverance will be one result of my illness. I feel freer from many preoccupations. Someday you must send me - when it is convenient - the red “Vineyard” and other canvases for this purpose, after you have seen the five I have done.

Now as for the “Reaper” - first I thought that the large-sized duplicate that I am sending you was not bad - but afterward, when the days of mistral and rain came, I preferred the canvas done from nature, which seemed rather strange to me. But no, when the weather is cold and sad, it is precisely that which makes me recall that furnace of summer over the white-hot wheat, so it is not so exaggerated after all.

Old Peyron has come back and talked to me about having seen you and said that doubtless your letter would give me all the details of the conversation which he had with you. And that in any case the result was that it would be wise to stay on here for a while. Which, being my own opinion too, goes without saying.

Nevertheless, if an attack returns, I persist in wishing to try a change of climate and returning to the North, even as a last resort.

M. Peyron said that you looked well, which pleased me.

2

large tubes

cobalt

1

emerald

1

chrome I

1

small tube

carmine

For there are lovely autumn effects to do.

With the work and very regular food, this will probably last a pretty long time, notwithstanding the ups and downs, and anyhow I shall go on working like this unless the thing appears. For at the end of the month you will receive another dozen studies.

Am I mistaken, your letter seems to me to be very late this time?

Unfortunately there are no vineyards here; but for that I should have done nothing else this autumn. There are plenty but it would be necessary to go and stay in another village to do them.

On the other hand the olive trees are very characteristic, and I am struggling to catch them. They are old silver, sometimes with more blue in them, sometimes greenish, bronzed, fading white above a soil which is yellow, pink, violet-tinted or orange, to dull red ochre. Very difficult though, very difficult. But that suits me and induces me to work wholly in gold or silver. And perhaps one day I shall do a personal impression of them like what the sunflowers were for the yellows. If I had had some of them last autumn! But this half liberty often prevents me from doing what I nevertheless feel I could. Patience, however, will tell me, and it is really necessary.

Give Jo many kind regards and keep well and write soon please. A handshake from

Ever yours, Vincent


At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 28 September 1889 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 608.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/20/608.htm.

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