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[Extracts from letters written by A. Bonger in Paris to his
parents in Amsterdam.]
March 17th 1886
Some days ago De Meester 1 paid Van Gogh a visit.
We were not mistaken; he was the man who nearly went into
hysterics when he had to pass the Ambassador…V. G. let
him speak freely; I think there is no better way to form an
opinion of a man whom one has never met than by letting him
Did I write you that Van Gogh's brother, who is studying to
be a painter, has arrived here? The consequences will be that
we shall not see much of V. G. in the future, for they are
having their meals together in their neighbourhood. His mother
and sisters are leaving Nuenen for Breda shortly.
June 23rd 1886
Did I tell you that Van Gogh has moved to Montmartre? They
now have a big, spacious apartment (by Parisian standards) and
their own household. They are now keeping their own cook in
optima forma. Theo is still looking frightfully ill; he
literally has no face left at all. That poor fellow has many
cares. Moreover, his brother is making life rather a burden to
him, and reproaches him with all kinds of things of which he is
quite innocent. For a long time he has had no news of his
It now appears that Theo's brother has come to stay; for the
next three years at least he is going to work in the painter
Cormon's studio. I think I told you last summer what a queer
life this brother has led. The man hasn't the slightest notion
of social conditions. He is always quarreling with everybody.
Consequently Theo has a lot of trouble getting along with
August 27th 1886
My patients (during Theo's absence Vincent van Gogh was
taken ill too) prevented me from writing you. Otherwise I
should have sought an earlier opportunity to thank you for the
cordiality with which you received Theo. He is quite elated
with his stay with you. Thursday morning he came back. It gives
me a lot of pleasure too that you like him. The better one gets
to know him, the more one learns to appreciate the refinement
of his mind. His company is always entertaining. During his
absence I slept in his apartment, for Vincent was
It is settled that in the future I am going to have my
dinners at Van Gogh's. It is true that it takes a lot of time,
for he is living in Montmartre, and consequently the evenings
will be quite lost, but it is more pleasant for both of us. We
always have subjects enough o discuss, the three of us.
February 18th 1887
Van Gogh too stands in great need of being renovated. He
continues to look sick and emaciated, and he is feeling weak.
If he were not such a desperately pig-headed fellow, he would
have gone and consulted Gruby long ago.
The Dutch novelist and art critic, see Letter 94a.
At this time, Vincent was 33 year old
Andreis Bonger. Letter to His Parents. Written 1886 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number htm.
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