"Two Peasants Digging (after Millet)," Vincent van Gogh
"Ward in the Hospital in Arles," Vincent van Gogh
My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter and the 150 francs, which I handed
over to M. Peyron, asking him once more to tell you each month
if there had been any expenses or not - so that it does not
accumulate - . M. Peyron said to me
again that there is a considerable improvement and that he has
good hopes for me - and that he has no objection to my going to
Arles just now.
and besides the more my health comes back to normal, the more
my brain can reason coldly, the more foolish it seems to me,
and a thing against all reason, to be doing this painting which
costs us so much and brings in nothing, not even the outlay.
Then I feel very unhappy, and the trouble is that at my age it
is damnably difficult to begin anything else.
In some Dutch newspaper which you put in with the Millets -
I notice some Paris letters that I attribute to Isaäcson.
They are very subtle and one guesses the author to be a
sorrowful creature, restless, with a rare tenderness - a
tenderness which makes me instinctively think of H. Heine's
No need to tell you that I think what he says of me in a
note extremely exaggerated, and that's another reason why I
should prefer him to say nothing about me. And in all these
articles I find, side by side with very fine things, something,
I don't quite know what, that seems to me unhealthy.
He has stayed in Paris a long time - I suppose he is wiser
than I, and has not been drinking, etc., but all the same I
find in him again, as it were, my own mental weariness of
Paris. And I think that soon his spirit will become dimmed with
sadness, wearied out with the fixed idea of seeking after what
is good, if he stays there much longer. You feel so much in
what he says that he's a grievously suffering human being, and
is very kind, happy when he can admire.
I began the “Diggers” this morning on a size 30 canvas.
You know, it might be interesting to try to do Millet's
drawings in painting, that would be quite a special collection
of copies, something like the works of Prévot, who
copied the less known Goyas and Velàsquezes for
M. Doria. Perhaps I should be more useful doing that than doing
my own painting. Mother has also written me news of Cor.
I have worked on a study of the fever ward at the Arles
Hospital, and then having had no more canvas
these last days, I have taken long walks in all directions
across the country. I am beginning to feel more the total
effect of the scenery in which I am living. In the future I
shall perhaps come back again and again to the same subjects of
What you say of Guillaumin is very true, he has found one
true thing and contents himself with what he has found, without
going off at random after divergent things, and in that way he
will keep straight and become even stronger on these same very
simple subjects. My word, he isn't far wrong, and I like that
serenity of his tremendously. I hasten to finish this letter. I
have already started writing you four times without being able
to finish the letter.
Ah, now certainly you are yourself deep in nature, since you
say that Jo already feels her child move - it is much more
interesting even than landscapes, and I am very glad that
things should have changed so for you.
How beautiful that Millet is, “A Child's First
A handshake for you and Isaäcson, kindest
regards, especially to Jo. I am going to work again at the
“Diggers,” the days are very short. Goodbye for
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 25 October 1889 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 611.
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