van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Auvers-sur-Oise, 28 June 1890
Relevant paintings:

"Marguerite Gachet at the Piano," Vincent van Gogh

"Wheat Fields near Auvers," Vincent van Gogh

Letter 645
Auvers-sur-Oise, 28 June 1890

Copy of a letter which I gave to Dr. Gachet.

My dear Theo,

Yesterday and the day before I painted Mlle. Gachet's portrait, which I hope you will see soon; the dress is pink, the wall in the background green with orange spots, the carpet red with green spots, the piano dark violet; it is 1 metre high by 50 cm wide.

It is a figure that I painted with pleasure - but it is difficult.

He has promised to make her pose for me another time at the small organ. I will do one for you -

And then there is this improvement, that in clothes you see combinations of very pretty light colours; if you could make the people you are walking past pose and do their portraits, it would be as pretty as any period whatever in the past, and I even think that often in nature there is actually all the grace of a picture by Puvis, between art and nature. For instance, yesterday I saw two figures: the mother in a gown of deep carmine, the daughter in pale pink with a yellow hat without any ornament, very healthy country faces, browned by fresh air, burned by the sun; the mother especially had a very, very red face and black hair and two diamonds in her ears. And I thought again of that canvas by Delacroix, “L'Éducation Maternelle.” For in the expression of the faces there was really everything that there was in the head of George Sand. Do you know that there is a portrait - “Bust of George Sand” - by Delacroix, there is a wood engraving of it in L'Illustration, with short hair.

A good handshake in thought for you and Jo and good luck with the little one.

Ever yours, Vincent

[Editors Note: The original letter is missing; the text here is from a copy of the letter in Johanna's handwriting. The sketch Vincent drew of Mlle. Gachet at the piano, F 2049, is recorded, but its location (presumably with the rest of the original letter) is unknown. Jo's copy has just a blank rectangle in its place.]

At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 28 June 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number 645.

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