van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Theo van Gogh to Vincent van Gogh
Saint-Rémy, 29 March 1890
Relevant paintings:

"Blossoming Almond Tree," Vincent van Gogh

"Corner in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital," Vincent van Gogh

Letter T30 1
Paris, 29 March 1890

Dear Vincent,

Among all the letters from brothers and sisters which you will receive tomorrow, mine may not be wanting to wish you the best of luck, which I do at the same time on behalf of your little namesake, who cannot do so very well for himself as yet. What he does do is look at Uncle Vincent's pictures with a good deal of interest - the tree in blossom especially, which is hanging over his bed, seems to enthrall him - and further the Rembrandt, although I cannot assert confidently that it is not the gilt frame which attracts him in the latter case. I am happy to say he is growing well, and we long to show him to you. But being a father and a mother is quite an art - perhaps because I had to learn to get used to so many things in the course of that one year - for I never heard other people speak of it in the same way - they had a baby and then everything was all right and things straightened themselves out of their own accord - but it's not like that at all with me. What amazes me most is that such a little child has so much of a personality, against which you are utterly powerless. Now and then he looks at me as if he wanted to say, “What are you doing to me? - I know much more about things than you do.” His are the eyes of an adult and then with a lot of expression. Is it possible that he has the makings of a philosopher?

He does not allow his mother much leisure, but I managed to escape for a little while at the opening of the Independents to see your pictures there - there was a seat directly in front of them, and while Theo was talking to all sorts of people I sat there for a whole fifteen minutes enjoying the delicious coolness and freshness of the “Undergrowth” - it's as though I knew this spot, and had been there several times - I'm so fond of it.

Here is the height of summer - indescribably hot - and I dread the hot days yet to come. I know it sounds a bit like sacrilege now that there is that fine delicate haze of green all over the trees, but I prefer winter after all. I shall have to close this letter in a hurry, for Theo is waiting for it.

With best wishes,

Affectionately yours, Jo

  1. Written in Dutch.

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 T30.

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