van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(13 June 1873)
... the circumstances, I am doing pretty well. So far the boardinghouse where I am staying pleases me. There are also three German boarders who are very fond of music, they play the piano and sing, so we spend very pleasant evenings together. I am not so busy here as I was in The Hague; I work only from nine in the morning to six in the evening, and on Saturdays we close at four o'clock. I live in one of the suburbs of London, where it is relatively quiet. It reminds me of Tilburg or some such place. I spent some very pleasant days in Paris, and, as you can imagine, I enjoyed all the beautiful things I saw at the exhibition and in the Louvre and the Luxembourg. The house in Paris is splendid and much bigger than I had thought, especially the one in the Place de l'Opera 1 . Life is very expensive here, my accommodation alone costs me eighteen shillings by week, washing excepted, and then I still have to take my dinner in the city. Last Sunday I went to the country with Mr....
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(January 1874)
... people who can do nothing but good. I'm getting on very well here. I've got a delightful home and I'm finding it very pleasurable taking a look at London and the English way of life and the English people themselves, and then I've got nature and art and poetry, and if that isn't enough, what is? But I haven't forgotten Holland and especially not The Hague and Brabant. We are busy at the office doing stocktaking, but it will all be over in 5 days, we got off more lightly than you did in The Hague. I hope that, like me, you had a happy Christmas. And so, my boy, best wishes and write to me soon, Je t'écris un peu au hasard ce qui me vient dans ma plume [I have written to you in this manner just as it came into my pen], I hope you'll be able to make something of it. Goodbye, regards to everybody at work and to anybody else who asks after me, especially everybody at Aunt Fie's and at the Haanebeeks'. Vincent I am enclosing a few lines for Mr....
Letters from the Van Gogh Family to Theo van Gogh
... van Gogh to Theo 28 April 1875 Do you sometimes hear from Vincent? I never do. It seems to me he has illusions about people and judges them before he knows them, and then, when he finds out how they really are and that they don't come up to the expectations he had formed too soon about them, he is so disappointed that he throws them away like a bouquet of wilted flowers without looking whether among those wilted flowers there would not be some that are not “quite rubbish” if only they would be treated with some care. I am really sorry I went to stay with him during the school holidays and was a burden to him. If I would have had any reason to foresee that that would be the case I certainly would have found some way to arrange things differently. I did not tell this to the people at home; they think he is a great support to me and that seems to give Father and Mother a great sense of relief. Well, the sun shines into my little room too beautifully and...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(3 March 1882)
... I can only get him for a short time. It may be true that I don't have the knack of getting on with people who are sticklers for etiquette, but on the other hand perhaps I get on better with poor or common folk, and what I lose on the one hand I gain on the other. Sometimes I just leave it at that and think: after all, it's right and proper that I should live like an artist in the surroundings I'm sensitive to and am trying to express. Honni soit qui mal y pense. Here we are at the beginning of another month, and although it's not yet a month since you sent me something, I would ask you to be kind enough to send me some more soon, if you can. It doesn't have to be 100 frs. all at once, but just a little to be going on with between now and when you can send the rest. I mention this because you said in a previous letter that you wouldn't be able to raise any money until after stocktaking. It grieves me sometimes when I realize I'm going to have to keep a model waiting,...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(6 July 1882)
... and often even pour oil on the fire. I do not like to be in company, and often find it painful and difficult to mingle with people, to speak to them. But do you know what the cause is - if not at all, of a great deal of this? Simply nervousness; I am terribly sensitive, physically as well as morally, the nervousness having developed during those miserable years which drained my health. Ask any doctor, and he will understand at once that nights spent in the cold street or in the open, the anxiety to get bread, a continual strain because I was out of work, the estrangement from friends and family, caused at least three-fourths of my peculiarities of temper, and that those disagreeable moods or times of depression must be ascribed to this. But you, or anyone who will take the trouble to think it over, will not condemn me, I hope, because of it, nor find me unbearable. I try to fight it off, but that does not change my temperament; and even though this may be my bad side, confound ...

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