van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Nuenen, April 1884
Relevant paintings:

"Parsonage garden in winter," Vincent van Gogh

"Winter Garden," Vincent van Gogh

"Parsonage garden in winter," Vincent van Gogh

Dear Theo,

I am enclosing a sketch of a picture which is one of those I'm working on; this is an afternoon effect of trees in blossom. There are three on the same subject among the drawings you will get as soon as Rappard comes here; what struck me in reality was the remarkably quaint, half old-fashioned, half rustic character of that garden. And I made three pen-and-ink drawings of that same nook, besides several studies which I destroyed, just because I wanted to render that character in some intimate details, which are not expressed easily or without effort or by chance.

If I, for my part, have some confidence in my own work, it is also because it costs me too much effort for me to believe that nothing will be gained by it or that it is done in vain.

And I repeat, I shrug my shoulders at the banalities in which most connoisseurs seem to indulge more and more.

Rappard was working on a few pictures which he saw a chance of finishing with models he could get, so he wrote to tell me that instead of coming at once, he will come in May, and perhaps would ask then to be allowed to stay somewhat longer, if it were convenient, because he intends to work a little here.

I wish he could come at the same time as you.

For the rest, if there is anything more than that, so much the better, but one must think about it as little as possible. But yet I believe the work must be seen, because the few friends will sift down from that very stream of passers-by. But one need not mind what people in general say and do. Goodbye,

Yours sincerely, Vincent

[Sketch, “Parsonage Garden with Trees in Blossom” JH 476, enclosed in letter.]

At this time, Vincent was 31 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written April 1884 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 366.

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