Paris, 23 June 1890
My dear Vincent,
I have something to tell you which I think will give you
pleasure. In the first place I went to the Salon with De Bock
yesterday; he came to lunch with us, and then we looked at your
pictures. He likes them very much, and he gives me the
impression of understanding them. As you told me that you would
be glad to exchange a picture with him, when I saw that he
preferred the canvas you did after reading the book by Rod, I told
him he could take that one in exchange
for a picture of his. He seemed to be enraptured, and put
everything he had at your disposal. I went with him to see what
he had at home, and among his pictures there was a size 20
canvas or thereabouts made at Frameries in the Borinage,
representing the Crachet and Pecry Works, which you may
remember; the whole factory looms in a fog of smoke and steam,
and stands out gloomily against the green wheat, with vivid
reflections of sunlight on one side. The sky is very luminous.
Above all I think that the subject and the intention of what he
wanted to do are remarkable 1. It is not very
skillfully done, nor is it vigorous, but it is very truthful,
like the young fellow himself.
If you should not like this canvas, he will be pleased to
exchange it for something else, but I should be surprised if
you didn't like it at all. The Salon is deplorably wretched,
there is hardly anything there which is not profoundly boring.
But let me tell you that you judged rightly in the matter of
Quost. If I had to choose, I'd take him. They are primroses. It
is very mild, harmonious, but for all that there is colour in
it. The Jeannins are good too, but they are blustering.
I met Quost the other day, and I spoke with him about you. I
told him that you greatly admire his talent, which pleased him
very much, he said. If you should come to Paris, you must not
fail to look him up - he will be very happy when you come to
see him, either at the garden or at home.
And now I must tell you something about your etching.
It is actually an etching done by a painter.
There is no refinement of process, but it is a drawing on
metal. I like that drawing very much - De Bock liked it
It's funny that Dr. Gachet has that printing press; the
others are forever complaining that they have to go to a
printer to get proofs.
I think Auvers has a lot of good, and I should like you to
share this opinion. We are looking forward with a great deal of
pleasure to going to you. For different reasons: (1) to see
you, (2) to see your work, (3) on account of the fine scenery,
and (4) because I hope that seeing the countryside will give me
the strength to do a lot of work. The Raffaelli exhibition is
over, now everybody is going to the country, and I shan't lose
much by not being there.
Enclosed I send you 50 francs. Last week Jo had to stay in
bed all the time, but fortunately that is over now. The little
one is well.
Kindest regards from Jo and the little one.
See Vincent's letter 644.
At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to Vincent van Gogh. Written 23 June 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number T38.
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