"Sien's mother's house," Vincent van Gogh
"Sien's mother's house (closer view)," Vincent van Gogh
Just a word in haste. Did you receive the drawings and my
last letter? I mean the portfolio containing the large
“Sorrow” and “The Roots,” etc.
I hear that Uncle Vincent is in Paris; I hope you did not
speak to him about the matter in question. Of course they would
consider it “immoral” or even worse. All right,
they can chatter about it as much as they like as long as I
don't have to listen to it or be present.
Yesterday I received a kind letter from Father and Mother,
which would please me very much if only I could believe that
this feeling would continue. But when I speak to them about the
affair with Christine (which I shall certainly do in three
weeks, when she has gone to Leyden and I have the time to
spare, but not before), then, I repeat, will they still speak
kindly when they know all this???
But my marriage does not depend on them, and you know well
enough what I think in this matter, and that as I do nothing
unlawful, and as I doubt their competence to judge moral
affairs, their refusal would certainly grieve me, but it would
not stop me or give me pause.
I am again busy with the drawings for C. M. but will they
please him? Perhaps not. I can conceive such drawings only as
studies in perspective, and I am doing them especially for
Even if he does not take them, I shall not be sorry for the
trouble they gave me, because I should like to keep them
myself, and because I practiced the elements which so much
depends on: perspective and proportion.
Christine and her mother moved to a smaller house because
when Christine returns from Leyden she will come to live with
me, wherever I may be, either in better or in worse
circumstances. It is a little house with a courtyard; I hope to
make a drawing of it this week.
Every day I see more clearly that the step I am taking opens
an interesting field for drawing and getting models. This must
also be taken into account when judging me. My profession
allows me to undertake this marriage - I could not do it if I
had another position.
I am longing for your letter, and hope you will soon find
time to write. I think, knowing how things are, you could do
much to straighten matters out (and if you want more
information, I will give it to you gladly and honestly); I
repeat, knowing how things are, you will be able to moderate
and change the opinions of those who have only a very imperfect
notion of the matter, and so disagreements will be avoided. For
you understand that I want to avoid all disagreement, gossip
and quarrels as much as possible; I spoke to no one but you
about it, for the sake of peace, and I shall not do it more
than is absolutely necessary - as, for instance, to Father when
the time has come for Christine to go to Leyden.
This is nothing I have sought, but it has come across my
path and I have tackled it, and I am glad that it is something
which demands action without hesitation or reflection. And I
showed you the darkest side of it first, in the hope that later
on you won't think it's so bad.
But I wish I knew what to do about the studio I wrote you
about. I would be content with a smaller house, but I do not
know of one more suitable. And I am afraid that a less suitable
one would not be cheaper because then my work would suffer,
though I should save a few guilders a month by paying less
rent. And perhaps I should say later, Why did I let that studio
go? Why didn't I try harder to get it?
I long for your coming even more than for your letter, but I
understand that perhaps I shall have to wait some time still. I
am not in a mood for writing, but one must do it sometimes. It
would be good if you could send me something, for I am rather
hard up. Well, at all events write soon. I should especially
like to know your opinion about the studio. It may be gone any
day. Adieu, I repeat, don't deprive yourself, but if possible
send me something.
Yours sincerely, Vincent
And let me know if you have received the drawings.
At this time, Vincent was 29 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 23 May 1882 in The Hague. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 200.
This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.