Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (1 December 1883) ... very hard up, to use a mild expression. Add to this that particular torture, loneliness, and really you will no longer
be able to imagine me “well off,” either in
the present or the past.
I say loneliness, and not solitude, but that loneliness -
which a painter has to bear, whom everybody in such isolated
areas regards as a lunatic, a murderer, a tramp, etc. etc.
Indeed, this may be a small misery, but it is a sorrow after
all: A feeling of being an outcast - particularly strange and
unpleasant - though the country may be ever so stimulating and
But for the rest I only look upon it as a bad time, which
must be got through, and which one can change but little
oneself, that is to say, in the relations with people whom one
would love to have as models, but cannot get.
Looking back, I see clearly enough now how it came to a
misunderstanding between you and me.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Paul Gauguin (28 May 1888) ... to waste his time, it might be a good job. Being
all alone, I am suffering a little under this isolation.
So I have often thought of telling you so frankly.
You know that my brother and I greatly appreciate your
painting, and that we are most anxious to see you quietly
Now the fact is that my brother cannot send you money in
Brittany and at the same time send me money in Provence. But
are you willing to share with me here? If we combine, there may
be enough for both of us, I am sure of it, in fact. Once having
attacked the South, I don't see any reason to drop it.
I was ill when I came here, but now I am feeling better, and
as a matter of fact, I am greatly attracted by the South, where
working out-of-doors is possible nearly all the year round.
However, it seems to me that life is more expensive here,
but on the other hand the chances of getting more pictures done
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (5 July 1888) ... I shall read the whole of Balzac again.
When I came here I hoped it would be possible to make some
connection with art lovers here, but up to the present I
haven't made the least progress in people's affection. And
Marseilles? I don't know, but that may very well be nothing but
an illusion. In any case I have quite given up gambling much on
it. Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone, except
to ask for dinner or coffee. And it has been like that from the
But up to now the loneliness has not worried me much because
I have found the brighter sun and its effect on nature so
Write me a day or two early if you can, the end of the week
will be rather tough.
With a handshake.
Ever yours, Vincent
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 26 July 1888) ... his letter gave me tremendous pleasure.
If you are alone in the country too long, you get stupid,
and though not yet - still this winter - I may become sterile
because of this. Now if he came, there would be no danger of
this, because there would be no lack of ideas.
If the work goes well and our courage does not fail, we may
hope to see more very interesting years yet.
Is Mourier still with you?
Would it be possible for me to have your letter on Sunday,
I'm not counting on it though, knowing that it is the end of
It's just that I shall probably have a model this week.
I need some studies of figures very much. Just now I have a
sort of exhibition at home, that is to say I have taken all the
studies from the stretchers, and have nailed them up on the
wall to get thoroughly dry. You will see that when there are a
lot of them and one can choose among them, it comes to the same
thing as if I had studied them more and worked on them longer.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (c. 27 September 1888) ... He has a perfect right to, of course.
For the moment the solitude doesn't bother me, and later
we will find someone for company, and perhaps in the end more than
I believe it is not necessary to say anything unpleasant to Gauguin if he
does change his mind, and take it absolutely in good part.
If he has joined forces with Laval, it is only natural, since Laval
is his pupil, and they have already lived together.
As a matter of fact, if they might really both come here, we could find
some way of putting them up.
As for the furnishings, if I knew beforehand that
Gauguin was not coming, I still would like to
have two beds in case I had to put someone up. So of course he
is quite free. There will always be someone with the desire to
see the Midi. What has Vignon done?? After all, if everything
takes a turn for the better, everyone will be sure to make
great progress, and the same for me too. If you can't always see these lovely days
here, you will see...