Our Uncle Vincent visited us here, I saw him often and
talked about a heap of things with him. I asked him if he saw
any chance of getting you a place in the store in Paris.
At first he wouldn't hear of it, saying that you were too
valuable in The Hague. Then, after I insisted, he said he would
think about it.
He will certainly come to see you while he is in The Hague;
he is not going to change from his dullness, let him say what
he wants, it will do no harm to you, and won't do you any harm
when you need something in the future. Don't talk of me unless
you need something.
He is very, very clever. When I was here last winter, one of
the things he said to me was, “Supernatural things I may
not know, but I know everything about natural things.” I
do not know if those were his exact words, but that was the
I can also tell you that one of his favourite pictures is
“Lost Illusions” by Gleyre.
Sainte-Beuve said, “In most men there exists a poet
who died young, whom the man survived.” And Musset said,
“Know that often a dormant poet is hidden within us,
always young and alive.” I think Uncle Vincent belongs to
the first group. So you know whom you are dealing with. Ask him
squarely if he can arrange for you to have authority here or in
Thank you for your letter that came this morning and the
poem by Rückert. Do you have a copy of his poems? I would
love to get to know them. As soon as I have a chance, I shall
send you a French Bible, and The Imitation of Christ. It was
probably the favourite book of that lady painted by Ph. de
Champaigne. There is a portrait of her daughter, a nun, in The
Louvre, also by Ph. de Ch. She has l'Imitation on the chair
Father wrote to me once: “You know that the same mouth
which said: “Be as harmless as the doves,” and
straight away added: “and wise as a serpent.”
[Matt. 10:16] Keep that in mind and believe me always,
Your loving brother, Vincent
Do you have the photographs after Meissonier in the gallery?
Look at them often; he has painted men. Probably you know his
“Le Fumeur à la Fenêtre” and “Le
jeune Homme Déjeunant.”
At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 15 July 1875 in Paris. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 031.
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