My dear Theo,
Many thanks for your letter of the day before yesterday and
for the 50-fr. note it contained. I am holding one just
now - so, considering that the facts of the case are the same
on both sides, I do not see why they should have anything very
serious to reproach each other with.
If there were any difference in the composition, that's what
would interest me more. And in paint there is adulteration just
as there is in wines, and how can you judge accurately, when
you, like me, do not know chemistry? Nevertheless, as old
Tanguy is taking the trouble to send off the canvases which are
in his attic for us, I should strongly approve of your getting
paints from him, even if they were a bit worse than the others.
That would only be fair. But I repeat, what he says about a
difference in the tubes is pure imagination on his part, and
the reason people go to Tasset is because the latter's paints
are generally less insipid.
But the difference is not important, and if Tanguy is ready
and willing to pack the canvases deposited with him, it's fair
that he should have the order for the paints.
I was pleased to make the acquaintance of the Dutchman
1 who came yesterday; he looks much too nice to
paint under the present conditions. If, however, he persists in
wanting to do it, I told him he would do well to go to Brittany
and stay with Gauguin and De Haan 2, because there
he could live for 3 francs a day instead of 5 francs and would
have pleasant company - and that I hope very much to join them,
since Gauguin is going there. I am very glad to hear that they
are going to renew their attempt there.
You are certainly right that it is better for Gauguin than
staying in Paris. Very glad too that he thinks well of the head
of the Arlésienne in question. I hope he does some
etchings of southern subjects, say six, since I can print them
without cost at M. Gachet's, who is kind enough to print them
for nothing if I do them. That is certainly something that
ought to be done, and we will do it in such a way that it will
form a sort of sequel to the Lauzet-Monticelli publication, if
you approve. And Gauguin will probably engrave some of his
canvases in conjunction with me. His picture that you have, for
instance, and for the rest, the Martinique things especially.
M. Gachet will print these plates for us too. Of course he will
be at liberty to print copies for himself. M. Gachet is coming
to see my canvases in Paris someday and then we could choose
some of them for engraving.
At the moment I am working on two studies, one a bunch of
wild plants, thistles, ears of wheat, and sprays of different
kinds of leaves - the one almost red, the other bright green,
the third turning yellow.
The second study, a white house in the verdure with a star
in the night sky and an orange-coloured light in the window and
black verdure and a note of sombre pink. That
is all for the moment. I am planning to make a more important
canvas of Daubigny's house and garden, of which I already have
a little study.
I am very glad that Gauguin is going away with De Haan
again. Naturally I thought the Madagascar project almost
impossible to put into practice, I would rather see him leaving
for Tonkin. If he went to Madagascar, however, I should be
capable of following him there, for you must go there in twos
or threes. But we aren't that far yet. Certainly the future of
painting is in the tropics, either in Java or Martinique,
Brazil or Australia, and not here, but you know that I am not
convinced that you, Gauguin or I are the men of that future.
But I repeat, no doubt probably someday in the near future
impressionists who will hold their own with Millet and Pissarro
will be at work there and not here. It is natural to believe
this, but to go there without means of existence or relations
with Paris is madness, when for years you have been getting
rusty vegetating here.
Thank you once more, and a good handshake for you and your
wife, and good health to the little one, whom I am longing to
Ever yours, Vincent
A young painter named Thomas Hirschig had been
introduced to Theo by Bock, and the former had advised him
to go to Auvers.
From September, 1889, through at least December, De Haan
was to be Gauguin's sole financial support: “If I
hadn't helped him with the necessaries these last three
months, and paid for everything, he would literally have
starved, for he hasn't had a penny since September.”
[Extract from letter to Theo from Meyer de Haan, December
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 17 June 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 642.
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