van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Paris, 31 May 1875
Relevant paintings:

"Pilgrims at Emmaus," Rembrandt van Rijn 1648

Dear Theo,

Thanks for the letter I received this morning. Yesterday I saw the Corot exhibition. In it was the picture, “The Garden of Olives”; I am glad he painted that. To the right, a group of olive trees, dark against the glimmering blue sky; in the background, hills covered with shrubs and a few large ivy-grown trees over which the evening star shines.

At the Salon there are three very fine Corots; the best of them, painted shortly before his death, “Les Bûcheronnes” [female woodcutters], will probably be reproduced as a woodcut in L'Illustration or Le Monde Illustre.

Of course I have also been to the Louvre and the Luxembourg. The Ruysdaels at the Louvre are splendid, especially “Le Buisson,” “L'Estacade,” and “Le Coup de Soleil.” I wish you could see the little Rembrandts there, “The Men of Emmaus” and its counterpart, “The Philosophers.”

Some time ago I saw Jules Breton with his wife and two daughters. His figure reminded me of J. Maris, but he had dark hair. As soon as there is an opportunity I will send you a book of his, Les Champs et la Mer, which contains all his poems. He has a beautiful picture at the Salon, “St. John's Eve.” Peasant girls dancing on a summer evening around a St. John's fire; in the background, the village with a church and the moon over it.

Dansez, dansez, oh jeunes filles,

En chantant vos chansons d'amour,

Demain pour courir aux faucilles,

Vous sortiez au petit jour.

There are now three pictures of his at the Luxembourg: “A Procession among the Cornfields,” “Women Gleaning” and “Alone.” À Dieu.


At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 31 May 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 027.

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