"Les Peiroulets Ravine," Vincent van Gogh
"Mademoiselle Dihau at the piano," Lautrec
Paris, 29 March 1890
My dear Vincent,
We were very pleased to receive your last letter, but we
regret from the bottom of our hearts that you cannot give us
better news. You will need an enormous amount of patience to
surmount the trouble your condition must give you. At any rate
there is a tendency toward improvement, which we ought to be
glad of to begin with. Cold weather has always had some
influence upon you, and so it's possible that milder weather
will put you on your feet again altogether, at least let's hope
so, and don't tire yourself too much.
How happy I should have been if you could have gone to the
Exhibition of the Independents. It was the Preview Showing
1, when Carnot 2 was there. I was there
with Jo; your pictures are very well placed and make a good
effect. A lot of people came to us and asked us to send you
their compliments. Gauguin said that your pictures were the
chief attraction of the exhibition - the “clou,” he
said. He proposed an exchange of one of his canvases for one of
the Alpine foothills. I told him I supposed
you would not object, but that on the contrary you would be
very pleased to know that he likes your picture. I like it very
much too - that picture, I mean - it makes an admirable
impression in the exhibition.
Seurat is showing a very curious picture there in which he
has made an effort to express things by means of the direction
of the lines. He certainly gives the impression of motion, but
it has a very queer appearance, and it is not very generous
from the standpoint of ideas. Guillaumin has a good many things
on view, including some very good pieces; de Lautrec has an
excellent portrait of a woman at the piano, and a large picture
which is very striking. Notwithstanding its scabrous theme it
has great distinction. In general it is to be observed that the
public is beginning to get more and more interested in the
young impressionists; at least there are a certain number of
art lovers who have started buying. The exhibition of
Pissarro's work is over; a lot of people came to see it, and
five pieces were sold. For the moment it was all that we could
Bernard and Aurier intend to come to see your latest
pictures next Sunday. Enclosed you will find a letter from
Aurier. He will be back before long to look at the Gauguins,
and to write an article about him.
I hope, my dear brother, that you will be able to give us a
more satisfactory report on your health very soon. If only you
could see your little namesake you would feel happier. Try to
find out from Dr. Peyron whether he sees any danger in your
coming to Paris as soon as you have recovered from this crisis.
Jo gives you her kindest regards, and joins me in expressing
best wishes for your prompt recovery.
A cordial handshake.
In Paris this day is called “jour de
vernissage” [varnishing day]; it is always a
great occasion, and the entrance fee is enormous.
Marie François Sadi Carnot (1837-1894),
president of the French Republic, who was murdered by an
At this time, Vincent was 36 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to Vincent van Gogh. Written 29 March 1890 in Saint-Rémy. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T29.
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