I was struck by what you say in your letter about having
been to Nuenen. You saw everything again, “with gratitude
that once it was yours” - and are now able to leave it to
others with an easy mind. As through a glass, darkly - so it
has remained; life, the why or wherefore of parting, passing
away, the permanence of turmoil - one grasps no more of it than
And yet there is good reason why my work is sometimes more
harmonious nowadays. Painting is unlike anything else. Last
year I read somewhere that writing a book or painting a picture
was like having a child. I don't go so far as to make a claim
for myself, however - I have always considered the last-named
the most natural and the best of the three - if indeed
they are comparable. That is why I at times try my very
hardest, although it is this very hard work that turns out to
be the least understood, and though for me it is the only link
between the past and the present.
There are a lot of painters in this village - next door a
whole family of Americans who paint away day in, day out. I
haven't seen any of their work yet - it's unlikely to be up to
Theo, his wife and his child were here last Sunday and we
lunched at Dr. Gachet's. There my little namesake made his
acquaintance of the animal world for the first time, as there
are 8 cats, 3 dogs, as well as chickens, rabbits, ducks,
pigeons, etc., in large numbers. As yet he doesn't understand
much of it all, I think. But he looked well, and so did Theo
and Jo. It is a very reassuring feeling for me to live so much
closer to them. You too will probably be seeing them soon.
Once again thanks for your letter, and hoping that you and
Wil remain in good health, I embrace you in my thoughts,
Your loving Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to His Parents. Written c. 12 June 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .
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