van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letters from the Van Gogh Family to Theo van Gogh
... Mrs.van Gogh to Theo […] Don't you think it very sad that Vincent does not write to us, during such important days? Oh, Theo, you don't know how it distresses us and how we long to go to him and say, “Boy, how is it? Isn't it true we can't live without each other and love each other too dearly to be estranged from each other and not open our hearts?”
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(15 August 1888)
... as an artist, should I lose that as a man? If I had the faith to do it, I'd be a notable madman; now I am an insignificant one, but you see I am not sufficiently ambitious for that fame to set a match to the powder. I would rather wait for the next generation, which will do in portraiture what Claude Monet does in landscape, the rich, daring landscape à la Guy de Maupassant. But then I know that I am not - not their equal - but didn't the Flauberts and Balzacs make the Zolas and Maupassants? So here's to - not us, but to the generation to come. You are a good enough judge of painting to see and understand what I may have of originality, and also to see the uselessness of presenting what I am doing to the modern public, because the others surpass me in clearness of touch. That is more the fault of wind and circumstances, compared to what I could do without the mistral and without the fatal conditions of vanished youth and comparative poverty. For my part I am in no way set...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(c. 21 October 1888)
... don't stop painting for a few days. As a matter of fact, I am again pretty nearly reduced to the madness of Hugo van der Goes in Emil Wauter's painting. And if it were not that I have almost a double nature,like that of a monk and that of a painter,I should have - and that long ago - been reduced completely and utterly to the aforesaid condition. Yet even then I do not think that my madness would take the form of persecution mania, since when in a state of excitement my feelings lead me rather to the contemplation of eternity, and eternal life. But all the same I must beware of my nerves, etc. Only I tell you this because you are mistaken in thinking that I have any mistrust of these two Dutch painters in any way. But it was really only after your second letter that I could form any idea of what they are doing, and I am very curious to see the photographs of their drawings. I should like to write you a letter expressly for them to read, to explain once...
Letter from Joseph Roulin to Theo van Gogh
(26 December 1888)
... I have been to see your brother Vincent. I promised to tell you what I thought of him. I am sorry to tell you that I think he is lost. Not only is his mind affected, but also he is very weak and despondent. He recognized me but did not show any pleasure at seeing me and didn't ask about any member of my family nor anyone else that he knows. When I left him I told him that I would come back to see him; he replied that we would meet again in heaven, and from his manner I understand that he was saying a prayer. From what the porter told me, I think that they are taking the necessary steps to have him placed in a mental hospital. Please accept, Monsieur, the greetings of him who calls himself the friend of your beloved brother. Roulin, Joseph. Entrepeneur des Postes Rue de la Montagne du Cordes, 10 Arles sur Rhone My family sends their greetings to M. Paul Gauguin. ...
Letter from Joseph Roulin to Theo van Gogh
(28 December 1888)
... Friday, I went there but could not see him. The intern and the attendant told me that after my wife left, he had had a terrible attack; he had a very bad night, and they had to put him in an isolated room. Since he has been locked in this room, he has eaten no food and utterly refused to talk. That is the exact state of your brother at present. The intern has told me that the doctor has for a few days postponed the decision to have him placed in a mental hospital in Aix. Please, Monsieur, accept my sincere greetings. Roulin, Joseph ...

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