van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Theo van Gogh to His Mother
Paris, c. 6 August 1890
Relevant paintings:

"The Mulberry Tree," Vincent van Gogh

Last Monday I have started work immediately and it has done me good, but it took all my time and there were friends in the evening or I was too tired. If that had not been the case you would have heard from me sooner, for my hurried line of last week was of no importance and there still are so many things I have to tell you. In the first place that Durand-Ruel came with me one morning to see Vincent's work, he stayed more than an hour and then had to leave, for he has not yet seen one of his works from Auvers since those are at Tanguy's. What he saw he found very artistic and very remarkable, but he is still hesitating about an exhibition in his gallery as he is afraid that it will start a controversy, particularly amongst the artists and literary people, whether he is either a great artist or not and that the general public, which is unable to understand this, may take sides against him and Durand-Ruel. He suggested himself if I could receive him again next week to see them once more and also look at the other ones. Proofs of friendship and admiration of his talent and character are still coming in. Pissarro is in town and he saw the latest paintings and was full of admiration; he immediately wanted to make an exchange against a painting that pleased him. I don't know if you remember, Wil. A mulberry tree golden yellow in the autumn against a blue sky1. Bernard had said to Dries [Bonger] when they went to Paris after the funeral, that he absolutely regarded Vincent as a master. There was also Serret, you know Wil, the one who makes such beautiful little drawings of children. We have one hanging in our drawing room. He was with me at Tanguy's and he was so very much moved when he saw his last work. He spoke nothing but good of it and Serret happens to be someone who looks through people and sees farther than most. I had to tell him everything and he asked me a lot of questions about Dad and Mum to find out where he got such masterly talent and genius from. I wish you had heard him speak, it was marvellous to hear him. Then we had Dr. Gachet to dinner last Wednesday. I will send you a letter one of these days which you should read to see something of what he thinks of him. After the funeral he has been ill from emotion, but he was somewhat better then. While he was ill he wrote about Vincent and he will let it appear sometime in a magazine. It may be good. Aurier is not home yet. In the latest issue of the Mercure de France there has been a short article about Vincent by one of his friends but it is not good. It says much in his favour, that is true, but it belittles his personality and reduces the seriousness of the contents by introducing me into it and now half of it looks like an advertisement by a tradesman. Still, I will send it sometime, but keep it for yourself. Dr. Gachet brought me a sketch in pencil after a portrait of Vincent, which he had made as an exercise for the etching he wanted to make later on, as well as a small drawing of a sunflower. He stayed that evening till twelve and there came no end to his admiration for the things of Vincent that I was able to show him. He promised to return in a fortnight or so…

  1. Apparently Camille Pissarro was successful in getting the painting, for it was recorded as being in the collection of Mme. Pissarro in 1901.

At this time, Vincent was 37 year old
Theo van Gogh. Letter to His Mother. Written c. 6 August 1890 in Paris. Translated by Robert Harrison, edited by Robert Harrison, number .

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