Paris, 3 May 1890
My dear Vincent,
I cannot tell you how glad I was of your letter, or rather
your two letters; on the eve of my birthday I said to Jo, If a
letter should arrive from Vincent! 1 - I should be
hard put to it to mention anything I need to be completely
happy. And look, there was your letter. Please understand that
I should like you to feel better, and your fits of sadness to
disappear. Your consignment of pictures arrived too, and there
are very beautiful ones among them.
The guard and the other fellow with his
swollen face are extraordinary; the branch of almond blossoms
shows that for these themes you have missed the time of
blooming of the trees and flowers. Let's hope that this will
not be the case next time. The copies after Millet are perhaps
the best things you have done yet, and induce me to believe
that on the day you turn to painting compositions of figures,
we may look forward to great surprises. The consignment of
paints from Tasset and Tangui has been sent off. I hadn't
received your second letter, and I said to myself that you
might have use for half the quantity extra. The picture for
Aurier is one of the finest you have done so far; it has the
richness of a peacock's tail. I am going to
take it to him very soon; I had the frame made according to
your description, for that much I certainly owe him, and he is
And now what is most important is your second letter in your
telling me of your intention to come here. I am very happy that
you feel strong enough to attempt a change, and I approve
absolutely of your coming as soon as possible, to make a
decision, for, after taking Dr. Peyron's advice, only you can
bear the responsibility. Your trip to Arles was definitely
disastrous; is it certain that travelling will do you no harm
this time? If I were in your place I should only act in
conformity with Dr. Peyron's views, and in any case as soon as
you have decided to come here, it will be absolutely necessary
for you to get somebody you trust to accompany you during
the whole journey. The exertion of travelling and the
sensations awakened by the sight of well-known spots may have
an effect on your malady. If it should be possible I should
so much like to have you with us for some time at least,
and if you do everything to take care of yourself, it is very
probable that all will go well.
You say that people down there understand nothing of
painting, but it is absolutely the same here, and don't think
that you will find things different anywhere else, exceptions
We have held intercourse with one category of people
who have made painting their principal occupation, but if you
don't count these, it is Hebrew to the general public, and the
simple things are even less understood than those whose subject
gives them something to puzzle over, etc.
I hope you will soon be able to tell me that your health is
improving more and more, and that you will be able to carry out
your plans. Please don't have too many illusions about life in
the North; after all, every country has its advantages and
disadvantages. I shall write you another letter before long,
and I shall look for lithographs of the masters. I shall send
them at the same time as the drawings from Brabant. Have
courage, and a cordial handshake!
Once again thanks for your letters and pictures. If you
should want anything, please say so. Business is good, and I
have everything I want. Kindest regards from Jo and the little
one. Their portrait enclosed.
See Vincent's letter 629.
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to Vincent van Gogh. Written 3 May 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T33.
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