Paris, 29 March 1890
My dear Vincent,
How happy I should be if I could go to you and shake your
hand on the festive occasion of your birthday. Will it be a
festive occasion for you, or is your condition still such that
you are unhappy? What do you do in the daytime, and do you have
something to do to divert your mind? Can you read, and do you
get everything you want? After your last letter I hoped that
you had entered upon a period of convalescence, and that you
could have told me soon after that you were feeling better. My
dear brother, how sad it is for us to be at such a distance
from one another, and to know so little what the other one is
doing. For this reason I am very happy to be able to tell you
that I met Dr. Gachet, that physician Pissarro mentioned to me.
He gives the impression of being a man of understanding.
Physically he is a little like you. As soon as you come here we
are going to see him; he comes to Paris several times a week
for consultations. When I told him how your crisis came about,
he said to me that he didn't believe it had anything to do with
madness, and that if it was what he thought he could guarantee
your recovery, but that it was necessary for him to see you and
to speak with you in order to be able to make a more definite
statement. He is a man who may be of use to us when you come
here. Have you spoken about it to Dr. Peyron, and what did he
say? I have not yet gone back to the Independents, but
Pissarro, who went there every day, tells me that you have
achieved real success with the artists. There were also art
lovers who discussed your pictures with me without my drawing
their attention to them. The papers which publish reports on
the exhibition are silent about the hall of the impressionists.
And it is the best thing they can do, for the majority of those
criticisms - well, you know what they are worth.
It is beginning to be real spring here. This afternoon Jo
and the baby were in the little square in front of Trinity
Church. The shrubs are beginning to get green, and the trees
show little green tips peeping forth from the buds, all bathed
in beneficent sunshine, and the grey colour of the church
against the intense blue of the sky was very beautiful. Jo and
the child are very well. It is true that there is a little
hitch from time to time, but nothing serious. The doctor who
came this week said that he was a magnificent child, and he
complimented Jo on him. You will see how funny he is in his
My dear brother, I am anxious to know whether you are
feeling better, and to receive particulars about your health.
Be of good heart and cling to the hope that things will soon
take a turn for the better.
I am sending you some reproductions of etchings by
Rembrandt; they are so lovely.
A cordial handshake, and believe me to be your loving
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to Vincent van Gogh. Written 29 March 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T31.
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