van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Auvers-sur-Oise, 20 May 1890

My dear Theo and dear Jo,

After having made Jo's acquaintance, henceforth it will be difficult for me to write only to Theo, but Jo will allow me, I hope, to write in French, because after two years in the Midi, I really think that I shall say what I have to say more clearly this way.
Auvers is quite beautiful, among other things a lot of old thatched roofs, which are getting rare. So I should hope that by settling down to do some canvases of this there would be a chance of recovering the expenses of my stay - for really it is profoundly beautiful, it is the real country, characteristic and picturesque.

He piloted me to an inn where they asked 6 francs a day. All by myself I found one where I will pay 3.50 fr. a day.
And until further notice I think I will stay there. When I have done some studies, I shall see if it would be better to move, but it seems unfair to me, when you are willing and able to pay and work like any other labourer, to have to pay almost double because you work at painting. Anyway, I am going to the inn at 3.50 first.
Probably you will see Doctor Gachet this week - he has a very fine Pissarro, winter with a red house in the snow, and two fine bouquets by Cézanne.
Also another Cézanne, of the village. And I in my turn will gladly, very gladly, do a bit of brushwork here.
I told Dr. Gachet that for 4 francs a day I should think the inn he had shown me preferable, but that 6 was 2 francs too much, considering the expenses that I have. It was useless for him to say that I should be quieter there, enough is enough.
His house is full of black antiques, black, black, black, except for the impressionist pictures mentioned. Nevertheless, he is a stange fellow. The impression he made on me was not unfavorable. When he spoke of Belgium and the days of the old painters, his grief-hardened face became smiling again, and I really think that I shall go on being friends with him and that I shall do his portrait.
Then he said that I must work boldly on, and not think at all of what went wrong with me.

I am so glad to have seen Jo and the little one and your apartment, which is certainly better than the other one.
Wishing you good luck and health and hoping to see you again soon, good handshakes,


At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 20 May 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 635.

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