van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
» Home < Previous   Next >
Letter from Reverend Salles to Theo van Gogh
Arles, 31 December 1888

  Highlighting health - mental   - Turn off highlighting

Salles 1 to Theo

Eglise Réformée d'Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône),

9, Rue de la Rotonde, Arles.

31 December 1888


I am going to give you news of your brother. I have just seen him, and found him calm, in a state which does not show anything abnormal with him. Unfortunately, as a result of the insane act which required his admission to the hospital and the more than strange behaviour that he showed in that establishment, the doctors found it necessary to isolate him and place him in an isolated room which they can keep locked. It is their opinion that he must be transferred to a lunatic asylum and they have made a report to this effect to the Mayor. This report will cause an inquiry and the result will be sent to the Prefect, who will probably order your brother's transfer to Marseilles or Aix.

I wanted to warn you of what is going on with respect to your brother, something of which he himself seems to fully understand. I repeat, I found him talking calmly and not raving any more than anyone else. He is amazed, even indignant (which could be sufficient to start another attack) that they keep him shut up in this way, and that they completely deprive him of his liberty.He would like to leave the hospital and go back home. 'I think that I am quite capable of taking up my work again,' he told me. 'Why then are they keeping me here like a prisoner?'

He spoke to me of you and told me how much it astonished him that you had not written to him since you left. I promised him I would give you his news tonight. He would even have liked to send you a telegram to make you come here. I left him deeply saddened, and regretting that I was not able to bring any alleviation to his situation.

I am entirely at your service and pray you, Sir, to believe me, your very devoted in Christ. Salles.

At this time, Vincent was 35 year old
Reverend Salles. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 31 December 1888 in Arles. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number to.

This letter may be freely used, in accordance with the terms of this site.
» Home < Previous   Next >

or find:         Credits & feedback