van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 26 letters relate to business - co-op...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(1 November 1882)
... most suitable for the general public. If the painters combined to see that their work (which in my opinion is, after all, made for the people - at least I think this is the highest, noblest calling for any artist to pursue) could indeed come into the public's hands and was brought within everybody's reach, it could produce the same results as those achieved during the Graphic's first years. This year Neuhuys, Van der Velden and a few others made drawings for The Swallow, a monthly magazine which costs 7½ cents. There are some good ones among them, but one can see that most of them are done sloppily (not the origional drawings but the way of popularizing them) and I hear that this magazine cannot keep going any more than its predecessors. Why not? The booksellers say there is no profit in it, and instead of trying to increase the circulation, they keep it down. And I think that the painters, for their part, do not take the matter strongly enough to heart. ...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(1 December 1882)
... couldn't we take such a thing in hand? And for myself, I should wish that in this combination everybody should be quite equal, no rules or president or any such thing, only a memorandum regulating the matter, which could only be changed by a unanimous vote once it had been definitely drawn up and signed by the founders; further, the names of those who pledged themselves (but these are not to be made public, the whole thing being an artistic, a private enterprise), listing in what way they are contributing. A pledges himself to make this or that, B gives so much, etc., that's all. Meanwhile it is December 1. If you have not written already, do so as soon as possible, for I haven't a cent left. Adieu, believe me with a warm handshake, Ever yours, Vincent It ought to be a combination which acts, not deliberates, acts quickly and resolutely and without loss of time, considering the whole thing a matter of public service, not a publisher's...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(31 and 2 Dec-Jan 1882)
... future which I couldn't see before. I sometimes think of the time, a year ago, when I came here to The Hague. I had imagined that the painters formed a kind of circle or society in which warmth and cordiality and a certain kind of harmony reigned. This seemed to me quite natural, and I didn't suppose it could be different. Nor should I want to lose the ideas I had about it then, though I must modify them and distinguish between what is and what might be. I cannot believe so much coolness and disharmony is natural. What's the reason??? I don't know and it's not my business to find out, but it's a matter of principle with me that I personally must avoid two things. First, one must not quarrel but, instead of that, try to promote peace - for others as well as for oneself. And second, my opinion is that if one is a painter, one must not try to be something other than a painter in society; as a painter, one must avoid other social ambitions and not try to keep up...
Lettre de Vincent van Gogh à Theo van Gogh
(10 March 1888)
... en Amérique, est-ce vrai ? Peut-être serait-il plus facile de mettre d'accord quelques marchands et amateurs pour acheter les tableaux impressionnistes, que de mettre d'accord les artistes pour partager également le prix des tableaux vendus. Néanmoins les artistes ne trouveront pas mieux que de se mettre ensemble, de donner leurs tableaux à l'association, de partager le prix de vente, de telle façon du moins que la société garantisse la possibilité d’existence et de travail de ses membres. Si de Gas, Claude Monet, Renoir, Sisley, C. Pissarro, prenaient l'initiative disant: Voici à nous 5 nous donnons chacun 10 tableaux (ou plutôt nous donnons chacun pour une valeur de 10 000 fr. valeur estimée par les membres experts, par exemple Tersteeg et toi, que la société s'adjoint, lesquels experts également versent un capital en tableaux) puis nous nous engageons en outre de donner par an pour une valeur de......
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(10 March 1888)
... paintings into America; is this true? Perhaps it would be easier to get a few dealers and collectors to agree to buy the impressionist paintings than to get the artists to agree to share the price of their paintings. Nevertheless, the artists couldn't do better than to get together, and give over to the association, and share the proceeds of the sales, so that the society could at least guarantee its members a chance to live and to work. If de Gas [Degas], Claude Monet, Renoir, Sisley and C. Pissarro took the initiative, saying, “Look here, we 5 give 10 paintings each (or rather we each give to the value of 10,000 Frs. to be estimated by expert members such as Tersteeg and yourself, co-opted by the Society, said experts likewise to put in capital in the form of paintings) and we further undertake to hand over every year pictures to the value of… “And we invite you others, Guillaumin, Seurat, Gauguin, etc., etc., to join with us (your paintings to undergo...

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