My dear Theo,
I was very glad to get your letter and I thank you sincerely for the enclosure. I’m only sorry that sending it to me probably got you into greater difficulties than you say in your letter. I do hope that you have since been repaid the sum in question.1
So Hendrik is back from the East Indies — were he and his family well? Or was illness the reason for their return?2 In the past Hendrik made a much less favourable impression on me than his two brothers3 — is that your impression too?
I’ve been working with printer’s ink lately — it’s thinned with turpentine and applied with a brush. Gives very deep tones of black. Mixed with some Chinese white, it also gives good greys. By adding more or less turpentine one can even wash very thinly with it.
Ought to be extremely suitable, it seems to me, for use on that paper that Buhot gave you.4
We must definitely discuss this question when you come here, and I’ll show you drawings that could be done on it.
A year ago it was a mystery to me how some very deep tones of black could be obtained, but it was at the printer’s that I found a few of them. And thanks to that I can go a little deeper in searching for modelling and chiaroscuro.  1v:2
Thank you for your good wishes on my birthday.5 As it happened, I had a very pleasant day, because just then I had an excellent model for a digger.
I can assure you of this: the work is going better and better with time, and I feel more warmth of life, so to speak, as a result, and I think of you constantly during it, since it’s through you that I’m able to work without fatal obstacles, namely without direct restrictions.
The difficulties are actually a stimulus sometimes. Now the time must come when we can put even more energy into it. My ideal is to work with ever more models, a whole flock of poor folk for whom the studio could be a kind of harbour of refuge6 on cold days, or when they’re out of work or in need.
Where they know that there are fire, food, drink and a few quarters to be earned. At present that’s only on a very small scale, I hope it will grow.
For now I limit myself to just a few, and keep to them — I can’t spare a single one and could use some  1v:3 more. You write about some art lovers who might take my work such as it is sometime, without its becoming a commodity exactly. Well, I really believe that too. If I succeed in putting some warmth and love into the work, then it will find friends. Carrying on working is the thing.
I’m glad your patient is making progress, if only slowly. Here it’s delightful spring weather. The evenings are indescribably beautiful. It will do her good if it’s similar in your part of the world. Is she up already?
I have the orphan man7 again today, and must start getting my bits and pieces ready.
I spoke to Van der Weele again this week, and I expect to see him here again in the next few days.  1r:4
You’ll probably be busy with the Salon too.8 I don’t suppose you can say roughly when you’ll be coming to Holland, can you?
I wish you well — write again when you have a moment. Adieu, with a handshake.

Ever yours,


Br. 1990: 336 | CL: 278
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: The Hague, on or about Monday, 2 April 1883

1. This financial matter must have to do with a loan from Theo to his cousin Hendrik Jacob Eerligh van Gogh (a son of Uncle Jan); this explains Vincent’s ‘much less favourable impression’ of this cousin in the following lines. See also letters 336 and 342.
2. Hendrik van Gogh and his young bride Maria Elisabeth Vos had left for the Dutch East Indies in September 1877; cf. letter 131. It is not known whether illness played a role in their return, but it is certain that about 18 months later Hendrik was suffering severe fits and was admitted to hospital (FR b2258 and FR b2261).
3. Hendrik’s brothers were Vincent and Johannes van Gogh.
4. Theo had sent Vincent a sample of paper for lithographing that had been given to him by Félix Buhot. See e.g. letters 290 and 295.
5. Van Gogh was 30 on 30 March.
a. Means: ‘beperkingen’ (restrictions).
7. Adrianus Jacobus Zuyderland, who often modelled for Van Gogh.
8. The Paris Salon opened on 1 May 1883.