My dear brother,
Many thanks for your registered letter, containing 150 fr. -
which arrived this morning. for if I had not had my work, I should long ago have been
even more broken. At present all goes well, the whole horrible
attack has disappeared like a thunderstorm and I am working to
give a last stroke of the brush here with a calm and steady
enthusiasm. I am doing a canvas of roses with a light green
back-ground and two canvases representing big
bunches of violet irises, one lot against a pink background
in which the effect is soft and harmonious
because of the combination of greens, pinks, violets. On the
other hand, the other violet bunch (ranging from carmine to
pure Prussian blue) stands out against a startling citron
background, with other yellow tones in the
vase and the stand on which it rests, so it is an effect of
tremendously disparate complementaries, which strengthen each
other by their juxtaposition.
These canvases will take a whole month to dry, but the
attendant here will undertake to send them off after my
I intend to leave this week as soon as possible, and I am
starting to pack today.
I'll send you a wire from Tarascon. Yes, I also feel that
there is a very long stretch of time between the day we said
goodbye at the station and now.
But another strange thing, just as we were so struck by
Seurat's canvases on that day, these last days here are like a
fresh revelation of colour to me. As for my work, my dear
brother, I feel more confidence than when I left, and it would
be ungrateful on my part to curse the Midi, and I confess to
you that I leave it with great grief.
If your work should prevent you from coming to meet me at
the station, or if it should be at an awkward time or the
weather too bad, don't worry, I'll find my way quite well, and
I feel so calm that I'd be very much surprised if I lost my
mental balance. I do so want to see you again and make Jo's and
the baby's acquaintance. I shall probably arrive in Paris about
five o'clock in the morning, but anyway the wire will tell you
The day of my departure depends on when I'm packed and have
finished my canvases; I am working on the latter with such
enthusiasm that packing seems to me more difficult than
painting. Anyway, it won't be long. I am very glad that this
has not dragged along, which is always regrettable once you
have made up your mind. I am looking forward so much to seeing
the exhibition of Japanese prints again, and I don't at all
despise seeing the Salon, where I think there must still be
some interesting things, though having read the account in the
Figaro, it certainly left me pretty cold.
Kind regards to Jo, and a good handshake in thought.
Ever yours, Vincent
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 11 or 12 May 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 633.
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