van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh
Saint-Rémy, 9 February 1890

Letter T28
Paris, 9 February 1890

My dear Vincent,

Your last letter gave us a great deal of pleasure, and we are happy to see that you are in comparatively good health. All goes well with us; Jo is nursing the baby, and has no lack of milk, and at times the little one lies with his eyes wide open and his fists pressed against his face. Then he has an air of perfect well-being. He has blue eyes like the baby you painted, and big round cheeks. He gives his mother a lot of trouble, but it seems that this is inevitable and she bears it very well. She'll be able to get up in a few days.

Wil left this morning; she has been an extremely helpful housekeeper. She is a dear good girl. I took her along once to see Degas, who said she reminded him of various figures in the old Dutch paintings, and that she made him want to go and see the museums in our native country. He trotted out quite a number of his things in order to find out which of them she liked best. She understood those nude women very well.

One morning we also went to the Louvre, where they have hung a lot of pictures in new places. The Van der Meer of Delft is now on the five feet high ledge, the “Little Philosophers” by Rembrandt have been cleaned a little, which enables one to see these pictures as never before. The “Infanta Marguerita” is in the square hall. In short they have made a number of changes which were highly necessary.

The doctor who treated Jo said of Wil that she is much too good to marry. Nevertheless I should feel quite happy if she did.

Gauguin arrived in Paris yesterday, and asked a lot of questions about you. 1 He came here to see whether he couldn't find something, no matter what, to do to earn a living for it seems that De Haan is very hard up too. His family cannot understand at all why he doesn't stay with them, and seeing that they are terrible Jews they probably think they will be able to force him to come back by cutting off his food supply. De Haan sent me a picture with the request that I send it on to his brother. One can see that he is making a strong effort; they are pink and orange onions, green apples and an earthenware pot; it is well thought out with regard to the colour values and the influence of the various tones on each other. I should prefer to see a little more freedom of treatment in it, but it is carefully studied, and it is kept in a rather bright yellow tone. There are three exhibitions here, of the Mirlitons, the Cercle Volney, and the Aquarellists, but one might say there is nothing good; it is as though those top dogs were falling more and more into their dotage.

I hope that your health will continue to be good, and that the things which worry you will disappear. Kindest regards from Jo. Be of good heart, and once again thanks for your good letter. A handshake!


1. See Vincent's letter 626.

At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to Vincent van Gogh. Written 9 February 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T28.

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