Letters from the Van Gogh Family to Theo van Gogh (1874) ... other and not open our hearts?” He thought that Father
had brought about his transfer, which in itself he was pleased
with, he wrote in his last unfriendly note. We later heard from
Anna that he had sent her a postcard asking for his suitcase.
She was also longing to hear something from him. After that
letter from Vincent, Father assured him immediately that he had
not spoken about Paris with Uncle, but Uncle with him. Uncle
had said he wished the transfer for Vincent's sake; he wanted
to give him a better insight into the business, especially in
connection with the later enlargement of the London branch.
Theo, do not stop going to church; very often you will hear
words there about the things you have been thinking about,
words that you need to bear happily the difficulties you meet
or to be consoled in your sorrows. There is so much in life,
and you will often come back from church with satisfaction and
admit that, even if you don't think it necessary, it is
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (26 November 1883) ... letters have been arriving later and later.
If I had received a word of warning according to our
arrangement, it would not rouse in me that feeling which I
cannot help gradually getting now. That is to say that a
certain insincerity is creeping into our relationship, which
began by being sincere, by mutually understanding and
respecting each other.
That this is a disappointment to me, and worries me
considerably, even apart from the thoughts I cannot keep from
rising within me, is not what weighs most heavily on my mind
Rather it is a vague uneasiness about you, though - perhaps
just because - only yesterday I heard from home that
they had had a good letter from you. So I should conclude from
it that the crisis in question is suppressed, averted, stopped
- well, whatever you like to call it. And so this would be a
confirmation of your words to me: “I believe that for the
present things will remain as they are.”
About which, however, I hinted...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (2nd half August 1885) ... you and also the drawings of
I told him I was sorry to say there had been a
misunderstanding between Rappard and me, which I could hardly
explain otherwise than that he had been gossiping about my work
with other people from The Hague, and as he had not seen
anything of it for a long time, he had involuntarily been
turned against me. I showed Wenkebach figures which Rappard
used to like, and at the same time the new ones, and showed him
that indeed I had changed in some respects and would change
even more, but that what I made now was certainly not
Then he said that he did not doubt that Rappard would take
back what he had written.
Then I showed him that, as to colour, I certainly do not
want to always paint dark. Some of my cottages are even
But that my aim is to proceed from the primary colours -
red, blue, yellow - and not from grey.
We had a long discussion about colour, and among other
things he said he had...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 24 April 1888) ... one for sleeping, one for
For the people here are trying to take advantage of me so as
to make me pay high for everything, on the pretext that I take
up a little more room with my pictures than their other
clients, who are not painters. On my side I shall make the most
of the fact that I stay longer, and spend more in the inn than
the workmen who come and go. And they won't find it easy to get
so much as a cent out of me.
But it's a perpetual nuisance to have to drag all one's apparatus and one's pictures after
one, and it makes it harder both to go out and to come in.
Letter from Reverend Salles to Theo van Gogh (7 February 1889) ... shown signs of
mental distress. For three days he has imagined that he is
being poisoned and is seeing nothing but poisoners and poisoned people
everywhere. The cleaning woman, who looks after him with a certain devotion,
noticing his more than abnormal state, considered it her duty to report it - and the
neighbors bought it to the attention of the central commissioner. This man put your
brother under surveillance, and this afternoon had him driven to the hospital, where he has
been placed in an isolation cell. I have just seen him and his state made a very painful
impression on me. He has withdrawn into absolute muteness, hides himself under
his bedcovers and sometimes cries without uttering a word.
Today, according to the cleaning woman, he has refused all food; all day yesterday and this
morning he has spoken little and at times his behaviour has frightened this poor woman, who
told me that while he was in this state she could not continue to look after him.
What are we to do now?...