van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Saint-Rémy, c. 15 March 1890
Relevant paintings:

"Blossoming Almond Tree," Vincent van Gogh

My dear Theo,

However, I am trying to answer you at once, and I hope that this will clear away in a few days. Above all I hope that you are well, and your wife and child too. Don't worry about me, even if this should last a bit longer, and write the same thing to those at home and give them kindest regards from me.

Remember me to Gauguin, who wrote me a letter for which I thank him very, very much; I am terribly dazed in the head, but must try to be patient. Once more kindest regards to Jo and her little boy and a handshake in thought,

Ever yours, Vincent

I take up this letter again to try to write, it will come little by little, I must tell you that there are, as far as I can judge, others who have the same thing wrong with them that I have, and who, after having worked part of their life, are reduced to helplessness now. It isn't easy to learn much good between four walls, that's natural, but all the same it is true that there are people who can no longer be left at liberty as though there were nothing wrong with them. And that means I am pretty well or altogether in despair about myself. Perhaps, perhaps I might really recover if I were in the country for a time.

My work was going well, the last canvas of branches in blossom - you will see that it was perhaps the best, the most patiently worked thing I had done, painted with calm and with a greater firmness of touch. And the next day, down like a brute. Difficult to understand, things like that, but alas! it's like that. I have a great desire, however, to start working again, but Gauguin also writes that he - and he is robust - also despairs of being able to go on. And isn't it true that we often hear the same story about artists? My poor boy, just take things as they come, don't be grieved over me, it will encourage and sustain me more than you think, to know that you ate running your household well. Then after a time of affliction perhaps peaceful days will come again for me too. But all the same I will send you some canvases in a little while.

Russell wrote me too, and I think it is kind of him to have written, showing that he does not altogether forget us; on your part speak of him from time to time, so that people may know that though he works alone, he is a very sound man, and I think he will do good things like what one used to see in England, for instance. He is a thousand times right to barricade himself a bit.

Remember me to the Pissarros, very shortly I am going to read the letters more calmly, and I hope to write again tomorrow or the next day.

[On February 24 Dr. Peyron wrote Theo that Vincent had again had an attack after spending two days in Arles. He had been bought back to St.-Rémy in a carriage, and it was not known where he had spent the night. The picture representing an Arlésienne which he had taken along with him to Arles was never found. On April 1 Dr. Peyron wrote again that the attack was lasting longer this time, and that it definitely proved that these trips were bad for him.]

At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 15 March 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 628.

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