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Nuenen, 2nd. Half June 1885
I think you will have received the box by now.
I must tell you that I have another similar subject, a white
clay cottage, the size more in the breadth.
Yesterday I witnessed a large forest fire on a blazing hot
afternoon. It was a wood in the middle of a bare stretch of
moor, and those enormous masses of black-and-white smoke that
went straight up into the air were a peculiar sight. The fire
was limited to the heath, the fir needles and dry twigs. The
stems remained standing.
I am very busy drawing figures, but I shall have to make a
hundred of them before I paint them, as this will save me time
I think they are getting rounder and fuller than at
But I am absolutely without money, and hardly know how to
get to the end of the month.
At times it makes me quite melancholy that the result is
But I go on, and harden myself against it.
Others have had to bear it too. Goodbye,
Ever yours, Vincent
Hasn't there been a Lhermitte number this May?
I repeat - work in spite of all indifference is not
easy to keep up, but what is easy isn't worth much.
Painting rural life is a thing that will keep its value, and
the fight won by others continues all the same. And one
can win it anew. Far from there being too many painters of
rural life - in my opinion it would be better to have some
It is no bad idea that in France they are decorating the
town halls with scenes from rural life, like a number of
pictures at the Salon. I suppose they will carry it still
But - it is even better that the pictures of peasants get
into houses in magazines and other reproductions,
directly among the people.
And so my being discouraged is only a passing mood.
At home I heard that you had written them something about
Serret, his having said that I could count on his sympathy,
etc. Is Serret a painter, a dealer or an art lover? Up to now
I'd never heard of him. I wanted to put Germinal into the box
with the pictures, but in the end I was afraid it would get
shoved in between the pictures and damage them. But I shall put
it in the next box or return it by post; I think it is
At this time, Vincent was 32 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 2nd half June 1885 in Nuenen. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 412.
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