van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
 
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to His Mother
Saint-Rémy, c. 20 February 1890
Relevant paintings:


"Blossoming Almond Tree," Vincent van Gogh
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"The Red Vineyard," Vincent van Gogh
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Dear Mother,

I intended to answer your letter many days ago, but I could not bring myself to write, as I sat painting from morning to evening, and thus the time passed. I imagine that, like me, your thoughts are much with Jo and Theo: how glad I was when the news came that it had ended well: it was a good thing that Wil stayed on. I should have greatly preferred him to call the boy after Father, of whom I have been thinking so much these days, instead of after me; but seeing it has now been done, I started right away to make a picture for him, to hang in their bedroom, big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky.

I thank you very much for the news about Cor, don't forget to give him my regards when you write him. I suppose you will be back in Leyden by now. These last days we have had rather bad weather here, but today it was a real spring day, and the fields of young wheat, with the violet hills in the distance, are so beautiful, and the almond trees are beginning to blossom everywhere.

I was rather surprised at the article they wrote about me. Isaäcson wanted to do one some time ago, and I asked him not to; I was sorry when I read it, because it is so exaggerated; the problem is different - what sustains me in my work is the very feeling that there are several others doing the same thing I am, so why an article on me and not on those six or seven others, etc.?

But I must admit that afterward, when my surprise had passed off a little, I felt at times very much cheered by it; Compared with other prices, also those in Holland, this is little, but therefore I try to be productive to be able to go on working at a reasonable cost. And if we have to try to earn our bread with our hands, I have to make up for pretty considerable expenses. The letter from you and Wil has just arrived, many thanks for it; I'd have written you before, but as I said, my head felt so little like writing because of rather hard work.

Now I am strongly inclined to take advantage of my good luck in selling this picture by going to Paris to visit Theo. And thanks to the physician here, I shall leave feeling calmer and healthier than when I came. Trying how it goes outside a hospital is perhaps only natural.

Though work may perhaps be more difficult when I am free again.

Well, let's hope for the best. It is curious that my friend with whom I worked for some time in Arles should want to go to Antwerp, and that way I should be a little nearer to all of you. But I am afraid this is not quite practicable, also because I think it would be more expensive, and when one is used to the climate here, perhaps one's health might not be able to stand being back in the North. But I will begin by trying it a few weeks in Paris.

An embrace in thought.

Your loving Vincent

  1. The “Red Vineyard,”, bought by Miss Anna Bock.


At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Source:
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to His Mother. Written c. 20 February 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 627.
URL: http://webexhibits.org/vangogh/letter/20/627.htm.

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