1. See letter 640, n. 2, for the Hokusai prints.
2. See letter 628, n. 20, for Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème; for the passage about the bare houses, see letter 639, n. 11.
a. Read: ‘aussi’.
3. During the study trips he took for his art-historical publications E.J.T. Thoré (who wrote under the pseudonym W. Bürger) also built up his own collection, with the emphasis on seventeenth-century Dutch and nineteenth-century French art; see Frances Suzman Jowell, ‘Thoré-Bürger’s art collection: “a rather unusual gallery of bric-à-brac”’, Simiolus; Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 30 (2003), no. 1/2, pp. 54-119; esp. pp. 82-89.
4. For Bing’s attic, see letter 640, n. 3.
5. This has been taken to mean that Van Gogh introduced Anquetin and Bernard to Bing (cf. Welsh-Ovcharov in exhib. cat. Paris 1988, pp. 18, 31). But that is not what Van Gogh says; what he actually says is that he learned at Bing’s and that he then got Anquetin and Bernard to learn with him. This may have been at Bing’s, but Van Gogh could also mean that he passed on what he had learned to Anquetin and Bernard. In letter 640 Van Gogh writes that his exhibition in Le Tambourin had a great influence on Anquetin and Bernard.
6. Vincent and Theo only paid 3 sous per sheet; evidently they had persuaded Bing to give them a discount. See letter 640.
7. In letter 676 Van Gogh mentions a branch manager called Lévy – this is probably who he means.
8. In an undated letter to Theo (who handled work for him from time to time) Besnard asked for 200 francs as a matter of urgency: ‘I really must have 200 francs by tomorrow afternoon. You’re the only one I can confide in. In return, you can choose whichever watercolour you like from those I have left in the house’ (J’ai absolument besoin de deux cents francs pour demain après midi. Il n’y a que vous à qui je puisse me confier. Vous choisirez en échange l’aquarelle qui vous plaira parmi celles qui me restent à la maison) (FR b1168). Vincent may be referring to this arrangement. Besnard’s oil study The parting, n.d. (Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum) was in the estate. Ill. 580 [580].
9. See letter 641, n. 1, for the batch of six drawings sent to Bernard. Soon afterwards Van Gogh sent him another nine sketches after painted studies (see letter 643). For his part, Bernard sent a series of ten sketches, for which Van Gogh thanked him in letter 649.
10. On 13 July Boulanger had fought a duel with Président du Conseil Charles Floquet, an opponent of the Boulangist movement. Boulanger had been seriously injured and had lost the duel. Van Gogh may heave heard Boulanger speak in Paris; as minister of war he had often spoken in public in 1886-1887. However he might also have based his opinion on the lengthy reports of Boulanger’s appearances in the daily and weekly press. See Garrigues 1991, for the duel: pp. 183-184. His speeches were published in Les discours du Général Boulanger depuis le 4 août 1881 jusqu’au 4 septembre 1887. Paris 1888.
11. In Hugo’s anthology L’année terrible (1872), which deals with the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, he discusses the role of the stars in the present and the hereafter several times.
12. For these prints and books that were still in the Netherlands, see letter 626, n. 9. For Gavarni’s La mascarade humaine, see letter 626, n. 10. For Marshall’s Anatomy for artists, see letter 626, n. 11 . There is now only one print by Charles Keene in the estate; it came from Punch (t*989).