My dear Theo and dear Jo,
I have just received the letter in which you say that the
child is ill; I should greatly like to come and see you, and
what holds me back is the thought that I should be even more
powerless than you in the present state of anxiety. But I feel
how dreadful it must be and I wish I could help you.
I am afraid of increasing the confusion by coming
immediately. But I share your anxiety with all my heart. It is
a great pity that M. Gachet's house is so encumbered with all
sorts of things. But for that, I think that it would be a good
plan to come and stay here - with him - with the little one,
for a full month at least. I think that country air has an
enormous effect. In this very street there are youngsters who
were born in Paris and were really sickly - who, however, are
doing well now. It would also be possible to come to the inn,
it's true. So that you should not be too much alone, I should
come to you myself for a week or fortnight. That would not
increase the expenses.
As for the little one, really, I am beginning to fear that
it will be necessary to give him fresh air and, even more, the
little bustle of other children that a village has. I think Jo,
too, who shares our anxieties and risks, ought to have a change
of air in the country from time to time.
Rather a gloomy letter from Gauguin, he talks vaguely of
definitely having decided on Madagascar, but so vaguely that
you can see that he is only thinking of this because he really
does not know what else to think of.
And carrying out the plan seems almost absurd to me.
Here are three sketches - one of a peasant woman, big yellow
hat with a knot of sky-blue ribbons, very red face, rich blue
blouse with orange spots, background of ears of wheat.
It is a size 30 canvas, but I'm afraid it's really a bit
coarse. Then the horizontal landscape with
fields, like one of Michel's, but then the colour is
soft green, yellow and green-blue.
Then the undergrowth around poplars, violet trunks
running across the landscape, perpendicular like columns; the
depths of the wood are blue and at the bottom of the big
trunks, the grassy ground full of flowers, white, pink, yellow
and green, long grass turning russet, and flowers.
The people at the inn here used to live in Paris, where they
were constantly unwell, parents and children; here they never
have anything wrong with them at all, especially the youngest
one, who came when he was two months old, and then the mother
had difficulty nursing him, whereas here everything came right
almost at once. On the other hand, you work all day, and at
present you probably hardly sleep. I honestly believe that Jo
would have twice as much milk here, and that when she comes
here, you will be able to do without cows, donkeys and other
quadrupeds. And as for Jo - so that she should have some
company in the daytime - well, she could stay right opposite
old Gachet's house, perhaps you remember that there is an inn
just across the way at the bottom of the hill?
What can I say about a future perhaps, perhaps, without the
That will be as it may, you have not spared yourself trouble
for them, you have served them with exemplary loyalty at all
I still love art and life very much, but as for ever having
a wife of my own, I have no great faith in that. I rather fear
that toward say forty - or rather say nothing - I declare I
know nothing, absolutely nothing as to what turn this may take.
But I am writing to you at once because I think that you must
not be unreasonably worried about the little one; if it's just
that he's cutting teeth, well, to make the job easier for him,
it would perhaps be possible to distract him with more here
where there are children, and animals, and flowers, and fresh
air. I shake your hand and Jo's in thought and a kiss for the
Ever yours, Vincent
An Englishman, an Australian, named Walpole Brooke, will
probably come to see you, he lives at 16 Rue de la Grande
Chaumière - I told him that you would let him know
when he could come to see the canvases that are at your
He will probably show you some of his studies, which are
still rather smeary, but all the same he does observe nature.
He has been here at Auvers for some months and we've sometimes
gone out together. He was brought up in Japan, you would not
know it to look at his painting - but that may come.
Thanks for the package of paints, for the 50-fr. note, and
the article on the Independents.
See letter T39; Theo had written that the child was ill;
he also spoke of a plan to give up his job and set out on
his own. So much was needed, and under the circumstances
Vincent as well as Theo had to economize. Theo also wished
in his letter that Vincent too might find a wife someday to
share his life with him. A few days later Vincent himself
came to see Theo and Jo in Paris.
[Sketches enclosed with letter: Girl with Straw Hat,
Wheat Field and Undergrowth with Two Figures.]
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 2 July 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 646.
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